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Full text of "The life and remains of Wilmot Warwick"

Class. 
Book. 













WILMOT WARWICK, 



SPLENDID BOTANICAL WORK. 



EDWARDS'S BOTANICAL REGISTER; or Ornamental 
Flower Garden and Shrubbery. No. VIII. for October 1828. 
To be continued Monthly. Price 4*. 

Each Number contains Eight finely coloured Plates, to equal 
Drawings, taken from Life,of the handsomest Plants and Shrubs 
grown in the Public and Private Establishments of this Country, 
(which Establishments are specified,) accompanied by their 
History, Mode of Treatment in Cultivation, Propagation, &c. 
Continued by JOHN LINDLEY, Esq., F.L.S., Professor of 
Botany at the London University, &c. &c. 

" What we consider the most valuable feature of this Work, and what 
distinguishes it peculiarly in its class, is the judicious selection of its subjects 
and the constant introduction of greenhouse and hardy flowers and shrubs, in 
preference to those which are to be preserved only in the hot-house ; of 
which, however, a sufficient proportion is retained to render the Register 
useful to all classes of readers," — Literary Gazette, March 15, 1828. 

" Mr. Douglas has sent home, to the Horticultural Society, more new and 
beautiful hardy herbaceous plants, from North America, than were ever be- 
fore introduced by an individual from any country. These are beautifully 
figured in the Botanical Register, and are. the more valuable as being fit for 
the open garden in every part of the Island. ***** 

'•' The Botanical Register, from containing most or all of the new plants 
introduced by the Horticultural Society, from the great care with which its 
plates are executed, and the judicious remarks on culture and general habit 
by Mr. Lindley, is, in consequence, the superior publication." — Loudon's 
Magazine of Botany, fyc. No. I. for May I. 



THE 



LIFE AND REMAINS 



OF 



WILMOT WARWICK. 



EDITED BY HIS FRIEND 



HENRY VERNON,t^J> 



tt 



" Thus baffled at every point, my affections outraged wherever they 

would attach themselves ; I became sullen, silent, and desponding ; and my 

feelings, driven back upon mvsdif entered and preyed upon mine own 

heart." V^*** 

^ «^ The Young Italian. 



i 



LONDON : 
JAMES RIDGWAY, PICCADILLY. 

MDCCCXXVIII. 

I 



| 9 2 v 



LONDON : 

SHACKELL AND BAYLIS, JOHNSONS-COURT, FLEET-STREET. 



1 

IP 



DEDICATION. 



TO 

GEOFFREY CRAYON, Esq. 

Sir, 

Among the volumes which belonged to my late 
friend, none bear more evident marks of frequent 
perusal than k The Sketch Book ;' and the numer- 
ous marginal annotations throughout, fully testify 
the great admiration in which he held the talents 
of its Author. 

Although to concur in a general opinion argue 
no claim upon particular indulgence, I cannot 
otherwise qualify the presumption of thus dedi- 
cating to you a portion of his Works. 

I am, &c. 

HENRY VERNON. 



CONTENTS. 



Introductory 1 

The Life of Wilmot Warwick 17 

Remains — The Odd Gentleman 75 

Christmas Night 87 

The Haunted Mill 103 

The Dead Arm, and Ghost of Caesar 125 

The Odd Gentleman and Old Maid 136 

Twelfth-Day 141 

The Smuggler 153 

The Poacher 169 

The Wig 189 

Travelling Companions 223 

Henry Halworth 235 

St. Valentine's Day 255 

Gordon , 269 

The Painter's Account of Himself 297 



LIFE AND REMAINS 



WILMOT WARWICK. 



INTRODUCTORY. 



6 



WILMOT WARWICK. 



INTRODUCTORY. 

" After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well." 

I was one evening sitting alone in my dining- 
room, reposing in all the luxury of a stuffed arm- 
chair and slippers, and enjoying (if enjoyment it 
may be called) that sensation of drowsy lassitude, 
the natural consequence of a hearty meal, when our 
appetite has been previously whetted by fasting and 
fatigue. My eyes were fixed upon an old ancestral 
portrait which hungabove the mantel-shelf, but their 
" sense" had no more to do with it, than a ship with 
the anchor from which she has parted in a gale. My 
imagination, in short, boldly independent of all 
reasonable bounds, flew about from one subject to 

b 2 



4 INTKODUCTOKr. 

another, without resting on any — now carrying me 
to the Black Hole at Calcutta — then taking a short 
cut over Mont Blanc — and anon transplanting me 
from the gloomy grandeurs of an Alpine solitude, to 
the bustling purlieus of the Stock Exchange. 

A great chasm in the centre of the fire might 
reasonably have urged the necessity of a poker — 
but it did no such thing — it gave a sentimental turn 
to my reflections, and my heart yearned at the loss 
of some friends, and the absence of others. Memory 
then led me a long jaunt through the scenes of my 
youth, retracing the harmless follies of my child- 
hood, and reassembling the companions of my in- 
fancy — Some, alas! were in their graves — and 
Warwick, (poor Wilmot !) where was he ? 

My thoughts were becoming confused. I shut 
my eyes from very languor — opened them again — 
closed them a second time— peeped once more 
through my eyelids, and was about to sink into the 
arms of " Nature's soft nurse," when the chords of 
a guitar, struck by some itinerant musician, roused 
me from my stupor. 

Never was my mind more fitted for the full enjoy- 
ment of dulcet sounds than at this moment, and the 
beautiful little air of "Pescator delPonde," stole over 
my wandering senses with a peculiar charm. The 



INTRODUCTORY. 



singing was not amiss, and the accompaniment toler- 
ably managed. " Give that fellow a shilling," said 
T to my servant, who now came in with the tea 
things — " Give him a shilling, Adam, and ask him 
to play something else." 

" I'll ask him to play something else, and give 
him the shilling aftenvards," replied the cautious 
Adam ; nor could I refuse him an approving smile 
at the time, though the recollection of his well 
meant policy is now ever accompanied with a sigh ! 

The poor musician gave me the due sum of me- 
lody and departed. 

He visited my door occasionally afterwards, al- 
ways receiving his shilling ; and old Adam, who 
dearly loved gossip, would sometimes exchange a 
few words with him. He managed to learn that 
the poor singer had seen better days, but vainly 
attempted to discover his name, or any particulars 
relating to his history. — " But, he is most likely a 
discharged valet," the old fellow would say, and in 
a tone which at once proved that he was not a little 
displeased at having his curiosity checked. 

w And pray, Adam,' 1 said I, " what sort of a 
looking man is he T* 

" Why, Sir, it is in general so dark that his 
face and figure are not over plain to be seen ; but, 



6 INTRODUCTORY. 

from his grammar, and that like, 'twould seem as 
though he were something of a gentleman — that is 
to say, so far as I judge of him when he speaks Eng- 
lish. As to the forrun lingo in some of his songs, I 
know naught about it. Sure enough, it must be 
cold work for the poor fellow this weather ; for, 
as I take it, he can't find much warmth, in thrum- 
ming o' those cat-guts." 

" Next time he comes," said I, " tell him to 
walk into the hall ; and, together with his shilling, 
Adam, give him a glass of j r our home-brewed." 

" Aye," replied Adam, " that be o' the right 
sort, Sir ; if there be any thing particularly calcu- 
lated to make me sing, it be a draught o' that same 
home-brewed." 

On the musician's next appearing, he was, ac- 
cordingly, told to walk into the hall ; " but," said 
Adam, (in relating the matter afterwards to his 
master), " he would do no such thing: and, egad, 
what's far worse than all, he took it into his head to 
refuse my home-brewed, which," continued he, in 
an affected tone of indignation, " will do more good 
to his soul, than his music will to mine.'' 9 

'Twas strange! — I went to the door myself, 
intending to speak to the man, but he was gone. 
According to Adam's account, he did not seem 



INTRODUCTORY. 7 

offended at being asked into the house ; but, on the 
contrary, much affected by the intended kindness of 
the offer ; and it was in a tone of considerable agi- 
tation, but totally free from pride, that he stated his 
not being accustomed to enter people's houses in that 
capacity — " in that capacity ?" — I was perplexed. 

Although his visits to my door were from that 
time discontinued, I could indistinctly hear him for 
several succeeding nights, singing in the distance. 
This gave additional impetus to my curiosity. I 
thought once or twice of conferring with him in the 
street — of following him home to his lodging — in 
short, of fathoming his mystery ; but, like people in 
genera], I hesitated to perform till opportunity had 
passed, and a fortnight elapsed without my hearing 
any thing more of him. I could never contemplate 
his singular conduct without thinking there was 
something in it which merited attention ; and, re- 
gretting that I had been so backward when the 
means of obtaining information were probably in my 
power, I determined, should they again offer, to 
secure the advantage. 

At length I received a note, directed — " To the 
Master of No. — , Gloucester-Place.^ On opening 
it I read as follows : — 



8 introductory. 

" Sir, 

" The poor musician whom you have lately so 
liberally patronized, has little reason for supposing 
that the pride which withheld him from entering 
your house a fortnight back, will recommend him 
to your notice now — perhaps, however, his misfor- 
tunes may. 

" He has had to thank many of your neighbours 
for a shilling ; but you are the only one that can 
reprove him for being above his situation, as you 
alone have given him an opportunity of shewing 
that he is so. His singing is now over : and he can 
have nothing more to do with music, except it be in 
the form of a funeral dirge. 

" He is on his death-bed ! — sinking under the 
effects of a cold which attacked him during one of 
his nocturnal rambles ; — " 



Without waiting to peruse any more of this 
letter, I desired the little girl who brought it to 
conduct me instantly to the musician's abode. 

On reaching the poor fellow's bed-side, I found 
him feebly answering the apothecary's inquiries. 



INTRODUCTORY. D 

This done, he raised himself upon his pillow, and 
turning towards me, apologized for the strangeness 
of his conduct, and begged that I would sit down 
beside him. 

We had scarcely exchanged a dozen words 
before I had occasion to mention my name. The 
poor fellow looked surprised — u Vernon P 1 he ex- 
claimed, with a deep-fetched sigh, and again re- 
peated my name, as if it were associated with some 
of the past events of his life. 

I regarded him with earnestness, and the gaze of 
my helpless companion was equally searching. 

u Good God ! v he exclaimed, " can it be Henry 
Vernon ?" 

I became agitated, hardly knowing why, and 
moved by some vague suspicion, alluded to the 
place of my early education — 

u 'Tis he !" he exclaimed, with a convulsive 
utterance ; and falling back upon his pillow, he 
faintly added, " Henry Vernon, we were school- 
fellows !" 

" For Heaven's sake," said I, " explain your- 
self. Are my suspicions right ? Do I not recognize 
in you the likeness of my earliest friend, Wilmot 
Warwick ?" 

" You see, indeed, his person," replied he, 



10 INTRODUCTORY. 

taking my hand, " though I wonder you should 
recognize any likeness between what I now am, and 
what I then was." 

The mutual happiness elicited by this sudden 
arid extraordinary recognition was but of short 
duration. After pausing some minutes to regain 
his composure, he continued, " Thank God, you 
will own me, Vernon ! As you have acted thus 
far in my behalf, you will, I am sure, remain my 
friend to the end. I shall not trouble you long — 
death has advanced upon the last hold of my 
existence, and his conquest will be easy and 
immediate. Often have I arraigned the hard fate 
which parted us — I have now to bless the good 
fortune which has brought about this interview, 
and at last conducted me to your bosom, on 
which my lacerated heart may repose a few mo- 
ments, ere it ceases to throb, and leaves me at rest 
for ever !" 

" Nay, do not talk in this manner/' I replied, 
" you shall be removed immediately to my resi- 
dence. " The medical attendant shook his head, in 
token of the impossibility of such a step. 

" No, my dear Vernon,*'' said Wilmot, smiling, 
46 do not think of that, I shall soon be removed to 
my own house — the only one I shall have ever had — 



INTRODUCTORY. II 

the only one I have now any hope or wish to in- 
habit." 

In the course of the day he grew considerably 
worse, and though my curiosity to know something 
of his history was maddening, the apothecary for- 
bade any interruption to his quiet. I, therefore, 
sat by his bedside in silence, bathed in tears, watch- 
ing him with the most painful anxiety, and com- 
paring the disfigured form of the poor slumberer 
beside me with that of my school-fellow eight years 
before. 

Wilmot at length opened his eyes, somewhat 
refreshed by sleep, and desired to be raised upon 
his pillow. 

" If you knew," said he, " the calm which now 
pervades my sinking soul — the hope that animates 
me, and the confidence on which that hope is 
grounded — you would neither pity my present 
state, nor lament my past misfortunes. For my 
own part," continued he (laying his hand gently 
upon mine, and speaking in a more cheerful tone, 
as if to suppress the grief which he perceived swell- 
ing within me)—" for my awn part," said he, 
" I forget the past in contemplating the prospect 
before me. The present is all peace — the future all 
happiness. You will want to know something of 



12 INTRODUCTORY. 

my history when I am dead — nay, my good friend, 
do not let an allusion to my death have so grievous 
an effect upon you. We have been separated for 
eight years. We are now going to separate again. 
The interval betwixt this and the time when we 
shall next meet, may be something less or some- 
thing greater than the time which has elapsed since 
our last parting ; aye, that was indeed a miserable 
hour; but this — considering all things, Vernon — 
should be comparatively happy. Therefore," said 
he, resuming that part of his subject which my 
tears had for the time suspended, " when I am 
dead, open this packet. Among the many literary 
trifles which it contains, will be found some memo- 
randa of those circumstances, which, having thus 
once more alluded to, I bury in oblivion, not suf- 
fering the painful recollection of them to embitter 
my last earthly moments. I feel faint,'*' said he, 
sinking upon his bed, indistinctly adding, "may 
you enjoy every possible happiness that can attend 
upon virtue — every earthly comfort that can wait 
upon life. I thank you, Vernon, a thousand times, 
for your kindness to a beggar, your constancy to a 
friend." 

Saying this, he closed his eyes in a state of com- 
plete exhaustion, and fell into a doze. I rose from 



INTRODUCTORY. 1 3 

my seat, and pacing gently across the room, cast 
my^eyes upon his guitar : 

If my friend had been falsely executed, and I had 
chanced to see the axe which had beheaded him, I 
could not have been more strongly moved than by 
the sight of this guitar ! In the warmth of the mo- 
ment, I couldhardly excusemyself for not instinctively 
knowing, at the time of my first hearing them, that 
the sounds which it produced denoted the misery of 
a friend. "Good heavens !" I exclaimed, " while 
I was revelling in comfort, in luxury — nay, in 
sumptuousness — my poor friend was wandering 
about, almost destitute of a home, uncertain of 
a meal, joyless, ffriendless, and the slave of mis- 
fortune !" 

And then I thought upon old Adam's prudent 
speech, about having the song first, and tendering 
payment afterwards. I cursed prudence as a sin, 
and myself as a fool, and Adam as a heartless 
fellow ; but here, at least, I was wrong ; for, on 
making the circuit of the bed-chamber, I found 
my poor old domestic on his knees, by the bed- 
side, speechless with grief. He had softly crept 
into the room shortly after me, and had heard my 
conversation with one, whom, as a boy, he had 
loved like myself. 



14 INTRODUCTORY. 

Wilmot just lived through the night, hourly 
losing strength, yet retaining his faculties, though 
he spoke but little. 

Day returned — but not for him : he had barely 
time to greet it, when, looking at me for an instant, 
he faintly uttered his last blessing, and closed his 
eyes. I felt my hand gently squeezed by that of 
my expiring friend. It was the last exertion of 
which his frame was capable ; and, but a moment 
after, the sudden relaxation of its pressure gave 
evidence that Wilmot and his miseries were parted 
for ever ! 

HENRY VERNON. 



My poor friend, it appears, threatened by the 
sudden approach of death, was desirous, at least, 
of entrusting his packet to the hands of some one 
who, in the event of his being able to do so, would 
forward it to the rightful owner. His reason for 
applying to me (a supposed stranger) may be 
partly gathered from the note penned to me on his 
death-bed. 

Having paid the last sad office, of consigning 



INTRODUCTORY. 15 

his body to the grave, I broke open the packet. 
It contained, besides a sketch of his life, numer- 
ous tales, essays, and pieces of poetry. The life, 
and some of the tales, form the matter of this 
volume. 

H. V. 



THE LIFE 



WILMOT WARWICK. 



Horatio, I am dead ; 

Thou liv'st ; report me and my cause aright 
To the unsatisfied ! 



WILMOT WARWICK. 



How mistaken were the speculations of an unfor- 
tunate wanderer, who, passing over Louthboro' 
Down, one fine summer evening, paused at the 
entrance of my father's plantation, and exclaimed, 
as he gazed upon the rustic portal of our cottage, 
u Scene of contentment, sweet abode of peace l n 

Now it was, just at that moment, a scene of the 
most unqualified uproar — the theatre of domestic 
broil: — and, in saying "just at that moment," I 
beg leave to preclude the very natural inference, 
that such moments were, therefore, of rare occur- 
rence — quite the contrary — the traveller's apos- 
trophe could have been seldom applicable. 

But he was a poor man without a home, and as 
c 2 



♦ 



XU THE LIFE OF 

that alone constituted his misery, he thought natu- 
rally, but not philosophically, that all who had a 
home could have little else to wish for. Besides, 
the house was full a hundred yards from the 
place where he was standing ; not, however, that 
double the distance would have prevented his hear- 
ing the clamours which were sounding within our 
abode, had he not been somewhat deaf, with the 
wind at his back. 

Who this unfortunate traveller was, and how I 
became acquainted with the fact of his stopping to 
moralize at the gate of my father's shrubbery, 
while I was yet an infant, not two years old, will 
appear in due time. I am too forward as it is — 
this history should have commenced fourteen 
months antecedent to the day of my birth, being 
the precise time when my mother first caught my 
father's eye in an assembly room. 

They met by chance — for I would rather deny 
the workings of Destiny, than suppose her capable 
of such malice prepense, as to have introduced them 
to one another, with a view to their misery, and my 
existence. Chance, then, having brought them 
together, they loved upon mistaken supposition, 
and married, because they loved ; nor is there any 
plausible reason for wondering that they should be 



YWILMOT WARWICK. 



21 



among the thousands who play the fool before mar- 
riage, and gain nothing afterwards, but the oppor- 
tunity of exerting their philospphy. 

As to my worthy parents, they certainly afforded 
a most extraordinary instance of mutual esteem 
coming to the aid of dwindling affection, and keep- 
ing two people together, who were otherwise unal- 
lied by any one single idea, liking, or opinion. Of 
course, they could perceive nothing of all this, till 
the discovery of it only tended to increase evils, 
instead of averting them. Had they but considered 
the matter deliberately, taking the various natures 
of men and women, and laying them out as a painter 
would colours upon a palette, they would then have 
convinced themselves that black and yellow, for 
instance, however charmingly they may look when 
placed side by side, like the squares of a chess- 
board, make but a very sorry mixture. I have no 
doubt my father and mother looked wondrous well 
in the assembly room ; and indeed have been in- 
formed that they elicited much admiration by the 
manner in which they went coupled " down the 
middle and up again :" but, when they became 
bone of bone and flesh of flesh — alas ! as the poet 
has it, — 

" Most comedies are ended with a marriage.*' 

But, seriously. It doth behove the sexes to 



%% THE LIFE OF 

consider this matter, not so much for their own 
sakes, as with regard to their offspring, who, ten 
chances to one, not only imbibe the natural failings 
of their progenitors, but likewise come in for so 
many more as may be engendered by the clash of 
heterogeneous dispositions — so that if the mother 
be given to the stylish vanities of fashionable life, 
and the father be an adept in the cunning of the 
mercantile world (though neither of them ever com- 
mit a palpable dishonesty), it is more than probable 
their darling boy may be hanged for swindling. 

Yet, what right have / to talk ? — Not even the 
reflection which rested on the likelihood of being 
instrumental to the birth of some poor wight, luck- 
less as myself, and inheriting not only my poverty, 
but likewise my incapacity to remedy the evil, could 
ever damp the ardour of my desire for marriage. I 
have, therefore, no just cause to complain of my 
father's union with my mother. It is with Dame 
Chance (who brought it about) that I quarrel. 
Nor was this the only mischief of which she was 
guilty; for about five years after my birth — my 
father being then on a shooting excursion in North 
Wales — she started a cock pheasant, which, flying 
through a hedge, induced him to follow, and was 
the primary cause of his becoming enamoured of a 
worthless estate, for the means of purchasing which 



W1LM0T WARWICK. 23 

he sold his patrimony, and ultimately involved his 
family in distress. 

That I should therefore be a decided enemy to 
fowling-pieces, and possess an instinctive abhorrence 
to all kinds of game, is not wonderful. Much pow- 
der and shot was expended, and many a hare sent 
per coach to the lawyer wlw managed my fathers 
business, and who took pretty good care that he 
who supplied the game should not only pay for 
the carriage of it, but for the sweet sauce like- 
wise. 

My father was a man not given to prattle of his 
affairs, even to those who merited his most perfect 
confidence ; so that ray poor mother never became 
acquainted with the full extent of his circumstances 
till they were involved past redemption. For mine 
own part, while the seeds of all my future misery 
were sowing, I was one of the happiest little rogues 
in Christendom, much beloved by both parents, 
but the constant subject of their altercation. My 
mother wished to cultivate my mental parts, which 
she, fond soul ! imagined to be of no common 
order. My father looked upon physical qualifica- 
tions as of more importance, and was as much de- 
lighted to see me give a couple of black eyes to a 
boy half a head taller than myself as my mother 



24 THE LIFE OF 

would be to hear me correct the mal-pronunciation 
and bad grammar of the parish clerk. She like- 
wise much prided herself in dressing me out to 
advantage — for I was a pretty-looking child — 
though, God knows, I can boast but a very mode- 
rate share of beauty at present. As my features 
formed, their bloom faded; and my happiness, 
alas ! was as transient as my beauty. 

As an infant I was certainly interesting, and 
attracted much notice from the magistrate of our 
village. His beautiful daughters also were wont 
to stop me in my little solitary vagabondizings, 
and rouse my blushes with a kiss : — blushes — not 
exactly of shame — nor of pride — nor of love, pre- 
cisely — but of something which partook of all 
these — a most pleasurable compound. 

Strange it is, that in this world the favours be- 
stowed upon us should be so frequently ill-timed. 
We are ever sighing for delights we cannot obtain, 
or else possessing a treasure which we cannot 
enjoy ; at least— which we cannot appreciate. Not, 
however, that I was wholly insensible to the sweets 
of being caressed by the magistrate's daughters — 
indeed, I have already explained that such was 
not the case ; for, to say truth, I was in this par- 
ticular rather forward of my age, and received 



WILM0T W All WICK. §5 

such favours perhaps more in the shape of an in- 
dulgence than it was intended I should. 

I think of these times frequently. To be fondled 
in the embrace of loveliness — or pressed to the 
bosom of blooming beauty — " Ah, once again, 
who would not be a child ?" 

My mother, flattered by every little attention 
which was bestowed upon her darling, grew more 
and more anxious of increasing my fascinations; 
while my father, differing from her in this as in all 
other matters, strenuously opposed what he termed 
" making a monkey of the lad." Thewes and 
bulk, with courage to back them, were all in all 
with him ; and he cared little about the fashion or 
cleanliness of his son's exterior, so he could inure 
him to deeds of hardihood and daring. Many a 
quarrel between my worthy parents originated in 
this question ; and, whether I should grow up a 
man of mind or a man of mettle — a gentleman or 
a jockey, was the subject of constant rupture. 

My mother's desire that I should be sent to 
school was therefore urgent, were it only in con- 
sideration of separating me from my father ; and 
on attaining the proper age I was immediately 
packed off to the " seat of learning," in a town 
some miles distant from home ; first receiving the 



26 THE LIFE OF 

several injunctions of my parents, which, as may 
be imagined, were no way akin. The one gave 
me an Eton grammar, the other a cricket bat. 
"Mind your books," said the one; " let no boy 
bully you, 1 ' said the other — and so we parted. 

I had not been at school many days before I 
shewed the independence of my' spirit, in refusing 
to undergo the accustomed drudgery of " fag." 
My master was, of course, an older boy than 
myself; and, being unable to return the cuffs 
which he might bestow upon me for disobedience, 
the most I could do was to show him that they 
would be ineffectual.* 

My tormentor would give me frequent oppor- 

* The custom in large schools of allowing one boy to command 
the services of another, as " fag," is unjust in its principle, and per- 
nicious in its effects ; and, though countenanced under the idea 
that it instils a manly hardiness into a youth, which may enable him 
with fortitude to meet the rubs of after life, it is rather to be looked 
upon as an encouragement to the natural tyranny of man, inducing 
the exercise of wanton or capricious authority. We are ready 
enough to assume power ; equally prone to misuse it ; and the 
weakness of a boy's nature should, at least, remain free from tempta- 
tion. That he was at one time compelled to be servile, is, with 
him, an all sufficient reason for being now tyrannical. The system 
is undoubtedly bad. It is the nursery of half the unfeelingness 
which marks aristocracy ; it begins with meanness, and ends with 
brutality. 



WILMOT WARWICK. 27 

tunities of evincing my obstinacy ; and, on one 
occasion, being more severe than usual, he was 
reproved by a little fellow (about my own age) 
for what the latter termed his cowardice, in buf- 
feting so tiny a junior. 

My young champion was about to suffer for his 
temerity, when I rushed to his assistance, and we 
soon convinced our foe that he was no match for 
both. Just at the moment of his making a terrible 
lunge, my companion managed most dexterously 
to trip his heels, and he fell forward with con- 
siderable force, striking his left eye against the 
sharp angle of a bench. Elated by this success, 
we exchanged a momentary glance of mutual en- 
couragement, and scarcely was our antagonist upon 
his legs again ere we resumed the attack like bull- 
dogs. My father's injunctions came across my 
mind — " Let no boy bully you !" It was no 
longer revenge, but glory which fired me ! My 
father's spirit was within me ! — " Keep it up, 
Vernon !" I exclaimed ; and we went to work 
with redoubled ardour, pummelling our almost 
breathless adversary right and left, till he fell ex- 
hausted, and we toppled over him. An exulting 
shout immediately filled the school-room — loud and 
general as that elicited from King James's army at 



28 THE LIFE OF 

Hounslow by the acquittal of the bishops. " Bravo, 
bravo! my fine little fellows ! n exclaimed a voice 
much deeper and more audible than the rest, and 
the next moment I was panting on the knee of my 
father ! 

If the reader is surprised at this circumstance, 
so sudden arid unexpected, still more was I. So 
it fell out, however, that my worthy parents had 
selected that very morning for a visit to their 
son, whom they had not seen since his first de- 
parture for school. My mother, previous to my 
being called into her presence, was anxious to have 
a little conversation with the schoolmaster concern- 
ing the proper employment of my mind ; but her 
husband, not taking much interest in such matters, 
had quietly stepped out in search of the school- 
room. The cheerings which accompanied the fray 
then enacting, fell upon his ear with all the charms 
of a "view holla !" and, quickly reaching the 
spot whence the noise proceeded, he found — every 
thing which his heart could desire ! His boy could 
not have been employed more satisfactorily, and he 
now entertained brighter hopes of him than ever. 

Neither was my heroic little comrade (even in 
his partial eye,) less worthy of an ovation than my- 
self. He gave us, however, what was at least 



WILM0T WARWICK. S9 

equally acceptable, viz. half a crown of King 
George's money, and bade us, as we valued our 
own honour and his estimation, to uphold our 
pugilistic prowess, nor suffer the least derogation 
from it by any future supineness. 

Judge of the amazement of my mother and the 
schoolmaster, on seeing my father enter the room 
where they were seated " in council most sedate," 
with Vernon and myself on either side of him ; 
our frills torn ; our clothes and faces all besmeared 
with blood and dust. 

" Two young heroes !" exclaimed my father, 
pushing us forward. 

" Mercy on us !" said my mother, " my poor 
Wilmot !" 

" Vernon," said the schoolmaster, " what may 
be the meaning of all this?" — - 

My father explained. My mother solicited our 
pardon. The schoolmaster gravely promised to 
overlook the matter for once ; and we were then 
dismissed to wash our faces and get our jackets 
brushed. 

It was thus I became attached to Henry Vernon, 
my first and dearest friend. We remained after 
this inseparable allies, and in our joint force main- 
tained no small degree of authority. As to the 



30 THE UFE OF 

^ system which we had opposed, it decayed from 
that time, or, at least, existed in so modified a 
degree, that no further complaints were afterwards 
made. 

We remained together at school till I had at- 
tained the mellowing age of fourteen; but, I 
believe, neither of us made progress in our studies 
commensurate with the time employed. Our 
instructor w r as a man of great natural ability and 
extensive acquirement, but wholly unfitted for the 
profession of a schoolmaster, and with no recollec- 
tion of those gradual exertions by which he had 
obtained his elevation on Parnassus. He had no 
idea of " mincing his precepts for children to swal- 
low; 1 ' or of " hanging clogs on the nimbleness of 
his own soul, that his scholars might go along with 
him." The impetuosity of his temper not only 
evinced itself in frequent and undeserved sallies on 
his boys, but sometimes in his severity to a wife, 
amiable and forbearing, as he was morose and pas- 
sionate. Taught by individual experience, he was 
fully enabled to preach a sermon upon the ill effects 
of drunkenness. When out of his school-room, or 
free from the surplice, he could be an amusing 
companion ; and none could do more justice to a 
round of beef or fat capon, than the reverend 



WILMOT WARWICK. 31 

Mr. . In school, however, he was out of his 

element ; and most effectually succeeded, like many 
other sapient people of his kind, in making dulness 
obstinate, and intimidating talent. 

One evening at the Pitt club, of which he was a 
staunch and constant member, he mounted a chair 
to sing " God save the king. 1 " With two bottles 
of old port in his head, it is not surprising that the 
security of his heels should be very questionable ; 
and in waving his glass, as a signal for full chorus, 
he lost his balance — fell from the chair — and 
bruised his nose. 

The report of this disaster soon reached the 
school, and, before the next morning, every boy was 
well acquainted with the ludicrous issue of his 
master's loyalty and enthusiasm. 

At the moment, therefore, of his entering the 
school-room, there was a general buzz. — " Look at 
his nose,' 1 said Vernon, somewhat louder than he 
intended. For my life I could not suppress my 
laughter. The enraged Pittite heard me, and fur- 
ther exasperated by the universal titter which the 
irresistible drollery of his damaged physiognomy 
excited, he advanced, without saying a word, to- 
wards the person of Vernon, his hand clenched, 
and his little ferret eyes flashing with fury* 

I stepped between them : — 



32 THE LIFE OF 

Had the schoolmaster been confronted by the 
spear points of fifty Polish lancers, he could not 
have exhibited greater amazement ! 

It was not my courage that touched him ; and, 
as to my physical force, with that of Vernon com- 
bined, 'twas nothing to his reverence, who had 
soundly thrashed a radical waggoner about three 
weeks before. 

No — it was my fool-hardiness — my rashness — my 
presumption ! 

" You little — impertinent — insignificant — * (he 
would have given the best part of his living for a 
word expressive of something an unfathomable 
depth beyond contempt — a kind of guttural noise 
seemed to announce that he had conceived some 
fitting appellation — 'twas the embryo of what he 
wished to deliver — but it nearly choked him — so 
he finished his invective, by thundering forth the 
word) " scoundrel ! — Come here, Sir," added he, 
" and receive the punishment due to your conduct !" 

The tone in which he uttered this, struck terror 
into every one, and I advanced towards him 
trembling and agitated. One or two of the bigger 
boys ventured to murmur something like disappro- 
bation ; and, at this, his fury knew no bounds. 
He seized me by the collar, and was about to exe- 
cute the sentence of his wrath, when Vernon ran to 



WILMOT WARWICK. 33 

my assistance. The astounded master, with a look 
of direst import, regarded us for a moment ; then, 
turning away abruptly, and threatening us with 
severe and instant punishment, he hurried out of 
the school-room, breathless with passion, and big 
with his revengeful purpose, What were his in- 
tended measures we knew not, neither did we stop 
to inquire ; but, taking up our hats, sallied forth, 
and, in a few minutes, cleared the outskirts of the 
town. We hurried onward, as may be readily sup- 
posed, with unusual rapidity. Every tree seemed 
of birch — every bush an officer. We bounded along, 
u over brake and briar," nor until we had made 
the assurance of our safety " doubly sure," did we 
slacken our pace, or give a moment's thought, as to 
where we should ultimately direct our steps. 

Panting with fear and fatigue, we sat ourselves 
down upon a bank, and I began to reason with 
Vernon upon the questionable propriety of the step 
we were taking; but, like most people who are 
ever ready to think that right which is most agree- 
able, I soon acceded to the arguments of my friend, 
who fully persuaded me that we were doing no- 
thing which could subject us to the least degree of 
censure. 

Having settled this — that we had not only acted 



34 THE LIFE OF 

as most people would have done, but as all people 
should do — that the expediency of our measure was 
substantiated, both as regarding the world's opinion 
and our own conscience — and allow me to say they 
frequently differ — we proceeded to determine on 
our next step, and were somewhat puzzled as to 
whether we should separate for our distinct homes. 
Vernon's abode lay within ten miles of us, but over 
a cross country, affording no means of conveyance ; 
while my mother's residence, though distant half 
as far again, was situated on a high road, traversed 
by several stage coaches. 

While we were deliberating on this point, an 
elderly man, in the dress of a poor farmer, came 
up, and bidding us " a very good morrow," pro- 
ceeded to relate a strange cock and bull story, 
about " four schoolboys, who had half murdered 
their poor old master with a ruler, and were now 
hiding their guilty heads somewhere about the 
neighbourhood." He had just heard this sad news 
from a butcher's boy, equally noted for riding a 
swift horse and drawing a long bow. 

At this moment the rumbling of the stage-coach 
was heard in the distance. Vernon seemed anxious to 
take advantage of the opportunity about to offer ; 
and leaving him with the farmer, I ran to the gate, 



WILMOT WARWICK. 35 

close by, intending to stop the coach. My pur- 
pose, however, underwent a speedy change; for, just 
as I was on the point of hailing the driver, whom 
should I perceive seated inside the vehicle but the 
old school-master ! Fortunately I escaped his obser- 
vation, but the object of his journey was evident. 
He was doubtless on the way to my father's in 
pursuit of me ! 

Dissembling my consternation as well as I could, 
I at first merely informed Vernon that the coach 
was full. 

" Which," said the farmer, "is rather unlucky, 
as there is no other going to pass to-day.'" 

" It is, indeed, unlucky," replied Vernon, much 
embarrassed. 

" But," continued the farmer, " don't make 
yourselves uneasy about that. If a night's lodging 
at my cottage will be of service to you, you are 
heartily welcome, and you can set off again on your 
journey early to-morrow morning." 

Vernon, after pausing a moment, whispered me, 
that it were better the farmer should know how the 
affair stood, and he was immediately made ac- 
quainted with the whole of our story. 

" Egad," said the farmer, "I thought as much; 
and what's more, I know something of old — — . 

d 2 



36 THE LIFE OF 

You shall both of you remain with me to-night, 
(that is, if you'll accept such bed and fare as a 
poor labouring man can afford), and my cart, 
Master Vernon/' (for, as it appeared, our acquaint- 
ance was not in every respect a new one) — "my 
cart," said he, " which is going off to your father's 
to-morrow, shall serve in lieu of a coach." 



Kind soul ! — a word or two concerning him will, 
I trust, be welcome. 

The name of our humble host was , 

I forget his sirname — but it is whollv immaterial — 
he generally answered to the simple appellation of 
Adam. 

Although by nature not of the roving kind, the 
worthy hero of my episode, till within a few 
months previous to this our accidental meeting, had 
never known the blessing of a stationary home. 

He was an illegitimate child, and had been as 
roughly treated by the world, in consequence, as 
though he had been himself instrumental to his con- 
ception and birth. His mother was a squire's ser- 
vant ; and his father the squire's son. The former 
died when he was an infant ; and the latter, by pay- 
ing down a sum of money, got rid of him at once. 



WILMOT WARWICK. 37 

After serving under several masters, and work- 
ing in as many different capacities, he obtained a 
situation as carter in the establishment of a wealthy 
farmer, and there fell in love with the dairy-maid, 
The circumstances of his birth favoured him little 
in the eyes of his master ; but that he could have 
borne, had they not likewise argued against him in 
the heart of his mistress — this he thought hard. 

Nevertheless, he followed up his suit, and well 
nigh overcame the scruples of his fair one, by tell- 
ing her, that he could no more help being a bastard, 
than he could avoid falling in love with her. 

('Tis the only way, Sir, you may depend upon 
it. If a woman's vanity be not assailable, not all 
the fascinations of men will ensnare their virtue, nor 
any strength of reasoning overthrow their bigotry.) 

The dairy-maid had smiled on Adam: — 
Oh! the power of a woman's smile! — (Adam 
could no more withstand it, than he could resist 
the combined force of his team.) It allays our 
pride, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. 
It is the cure for scorn — the balm for misfortune 
— the sunshine of life, bringing forth all the better 
parts of our nature. 



38 THE LIFE OF 

The dairy-maid had sighed to Adam : — 

Oh, the heart-stirring language of a woman's 
sigh ! It arouses our hopes, and excites our wishes. 
It places all our energies in the heart, leaving the 
head to do as it may without them. As to poor 
Adam, he drove his plough diagonally, making no 
two furrows parallel, and suffering his leader to 
walk into the ditch. 

The dairy-maid had wept at Adam's misfor- 
tunes ! — 

'Twas enough to overcome the stoutest heart ! 
Next to the pleasure afforded by relieving the dis- 
tresses of loveliness, is that of receiving the pity it 
awards to our own sufferings —A woman's tears ! 
•—The man who obtains them is hardly to be pitied 
for his misfortunes. — Adam felt so, at all events. 

lie was now fairly in love. He had good reason 
for supposing that his love would be returned ; and 
thinking it better to have his expectations annulled 
by disappointment than fostered by doubt, he de- 
termined on making the declaration. 

This resolution was formed in the hay-field, and 
he went boldly home to fulfil it, when, lo ! he caught 
the farmer's son in illegal dalliance with his mistress ; 
and, thinking there were bastards enough in the 
world already, he knocked his young master down. 



WILMOT WARWICK. 39 

And thus ended his love affair. Dismissed from 
his situation, in consequence, he wandered about 
from place to place— doing a little here, and a little 
there — and, in this manner, with difficulty contriv- 
ing to live, till he met his old flame, by accident, 
many years afterwards. 

She blushed on seeing him : — his passion was, 
for a moment, revived ; but no longer ; for, on 
casting his eyes upon her left hand, he saw a 
fourth-finger evidence that she was the wife of 
another ! 

The husband, however, received him kindly, and 
lent him the money by which he had been enabled 
to rent the farm which he now occupied. 



I have never been in the way of feasting ^nd 
banquets ; but I much question whether venison 
pasty or real turtle, served on plate, ever gave more 
real satisfaction than the brown bread and rasher of 
bacon which our humble benefactor put before us 
at dinner. 

He had a snug little abode, " and," said he, 
" 'tis the first I have ever been master of. 'Tis 
now more than twelve years gone, since I crossed 
Louthboro 1 Down, unable to obtain a meal, and with 



40 THE LIFE OF 

nothing I could call my own, except my tatters and 
my misery. I looked with wistful eyes upon a 
pretty little cottage situated in the valley below ; 
nor could I imagine a further stretch of ambition 
than to be possessor of such a home ! It seemed to 
me the sweet abode of Peace and Contentment." — 

Alas! Contentment and Peace had no more to 
do with it than he had. 

His conception of what was going on within its 
walls was just as erroneous as thy memory, dear 
reader, is defective, if thou dost not know as well 
as I do the then real state of affairs.* 

Adam was much amused when I set him right. — 
'Tis fit, however, the reader should know that we 
managed to fix dates to a nicety, or, at least, chance 
managed it for us ; for we were both born on the 
same day of the year. 'Twas on the morning of 
the twenty-sixth of August, 1804, that Adam 
crossed Louthboro' Down ; and on the same morn- 
ing — it being his fortieth, and my second birth-day 
— I was scalded on the arm by the kitchen wench. 
To the noise of my screams was added the vocife- 
rous altercation of my father and mother as to the 
proper remedy for my sufferings ; while the kitchen 
wench was lustily bawling a reply to the cook, who 
* Vide the opening passage of this history. 



WILMOT WARWICK. 41 

threatened to punish her carelessness by breaking 
her head with the cullender. 



On the following morning our host conducted us 
to the mansion of Mr. Vernon. I confess I felt 
nervous and agitated on approaching the door, and 
knew not exactly w T hat to anticipate as the result of 
our temerity. 

Mr. Vernon's look, on receiving us, was that of 
gladness quelled by suspicion ; and, taking his son's 
hand with much apparent coldness, he inquired into 
the circumstances of our sudden and unexpected visit. 

My companion, like myself, was at first so affected 
by his situation that he could not speak ; but Mrs. 
Vernon, in the true spirit of a mother's tenderness, 
requested her husband's patience for a while, not 
doubting but that we should give a true and satis- 
factory account of ourselves. 

Mr. Vernon heard our tale with attention, and 
was evidently in a great measure relieved of his 
suspicions by the recital of it. But, after all, the 
narrative of two runaway school-boys, in justification 
of their truancy, was of too biassed and question- 
able a nature to supersede the necessity of further 
examination. 



42 THE LIFE OF 

On the morning, therefore, of the following day 

Mr. Vernon set off for , to make the necessary 

inquiries concerning the truth of our story ; and we 
awaited his return with no small degree of impa- 
tience. 

The journey had been made with unusual expe- 
dition. We were sitting in the drawing room, when 
Mr. Vernon rather unexpectedly made his re-ap- 
pearance. His countenance was expressive of sorrow 
— not anger. He beckoned me to follow him into 
his study, which I did ; and having shut the door, 
he addressed me as follows : — 

" The subject of your running away from school, 
Master Warwick, is, I am sorry to tell you, super- 
seded by one of more serious import, and I must 
request you to summon up the whole of your for- 
titude, — Your poor mother is suffering great mental 
affliction.—It will be your duty to support her. 

Mr. (the school-master), who had an idea of 

anticipating your arrival at home, took his seat in 
the coach for that purpose shortly after yourself 
and my son Henry had left him. — When I arrived 
at his house, I found him occupied in writing a 
letter to me, upon the melancholy subject of your 
father's fete." 

As he said this, he presented to me the letter in 



WILM0T WARWICK. 43 

question. It was unfinished — but sufficiently ex- 
plicit — it informed me of my father's death, which 
had been sudden and accidental ! 

Mr. Vernon and his family did all in their power 
to comfort me, and the following morning I set off 
in company with the former for my mother's 
house. We found her wretched in the extreme. 
Had she lost a companion whose disposition had 
been in every respect congenial with her own, she 
could not have exhibited a greater sense of her 
deprivation. Yet so it is with us all — no sooner 
are we bereft of a possession than we discover its 
defects to have been trivial — its excellencies pa- 
ramount ; and the grave, while it buries every 
error, teems with favourable recollections and fond 
regrets. 

The first paroxysm of grief had scarcely sub- 
sided, when discoveries of the most afilicting nature 
gave a fresh impetus to our sufferings. The exa- 
mination of our circumstances immediately sub- 
sequent to my father's funeral, ended in the confir- 
mation that we could scarcely call a penny our 
own ; and my poor widowed mother was thus left 
unsupported in every way ; the victim of a hus- 
band's improvidence. Creditors were not inclined 
to be lenient ; neighbours expressed their sorrow 



44 THK LIFE OF 

for our misfortunes, and much regretted their in- 
capacity to relieve them. Mr. Vernon proved our 
only friend, and the extent of his bounty was sur- 
passed by the delicacy with which he bestowed it. 
His advice was adopted with success ; his autho- 
rity proved influential ; and, at the close of a year 
and a half after my father's death, my mother was 
humbly but contentedly settled in a small house 
which she tenanted of our benefactor. 

Neither Vernon nor myself ever saw any thing 
more of our old master: so far, however, from 
retrograding in our studies, we made a more rapid 
advance than we should have done had we remained 
at his school. Mr. Vernon was fully capable of 
imparting knowledge, and with all due gratitude 
let me ever remember his great kindness, in allow- 
ing me equally with his son to benefit by his 
instructions. 

I must not forget to mention that our friend 
Adam, very shortly after our first meeting, found 
himself most comfortably established as the chief 
of Mr. Vernon's domestics, He might be called, 
in his way, a second Corporal Trim ; for, though 
he knew nothing about scarps, counter-scarps, 
ravelins, or horn work, he was equally capable of 
making himself generally useful ; like Trim, he 



WILMOT WAEWICK. 45 

was faithful and affectionate— receiving his wages 
as a matter of course, but never feeling so truly 
rewarded as when he obtained the approbation of 
his master. Like Trim, too, he had been in love. 
I was now spending the happiest portion of my 
life: 

u But, mortal pleasure, what art thou, in truth ? 
The torrent's smoothness ere it dash below !" 

My happiness was of short duration. Mr. Ver- 
non discovered, as he kindly thought, a situation 
in London exactly suited to my wishes and capa- 
bility ; nor did I, in the first instance, receive his 
intimation w T ith feelings of regret, as I had long 
desired to visit the metropolis. 

But, as the time fixed for my departure ap- 
proached, my ardour for novelty began to dispel 
itself; and longings of a different nature, hitherto 
unfelt, took possession of my bosom. The idea of 
being removed some hundred miles from an affec- 
tionate mother — from a guardian of unequalled 
kindness — and from a friend— was quite sufficient 
to damp my spirits, had there been no other cause. 
But I was on the eve, likewise, of being separated 
from one, whom I hardly knew till this time to be 
an object of more than mere regard. 



46 THE LIFE OF 

Emma Vernon was inclined to look favourably 
upon me, because I was her brother's friend ; and 
I was equally prepossessed in her favour because 
she was the sister of mine. We were both very 
young ; but, if a boy of sixteen is incapable of re- 
ceiving tender impressions, it is more than pro- 
bable he will ever remain so. I found myself one 
night almost unconsciously mentioning the name of 
Emma in my prayers. 

A young lover is ever ready to put such con- 
structions on the looks, words, and actions of his 
mistress, as are most flattering to his hopes, other- 
wise I might, perhaps, have known that her solici- 
tude for my welfare, was the offspring of that 
nature which prompted her to desire the good of 
every creature breathing. 

It was at Mr. Vernon's house, where my mother 
and self had been staying for a fortnight, that we 
took coach for London. I had been drooping for 
the last day or two ; but when, on the morning of 
our departure, I descended into the breakfast- 
room, and found all eyes upon me as the object of 
interest — when I perceived the corded trunks, and 
all the insignia of travel — I could no longer re- 
strain my feelings, but burst into tears ; nor was 
the soft tone of maternal tenderness in which Mrs. 



WILMOT WARWICK. 47 

Vernon tried to subdue my agitation, productive of 
any other effect than that of increasing it. It was 
the first time in my life that I had experienced the 
sting of kindness. Every fond expression cut me 
to the heart — every present I received was a lash. 

The chaise at length drew up, and shaking 
hands with Mr. and Mrs. Vernon, I next advanced 
to Emma: — 

My tears ceased to flow — my breathing thickened 
— my heart beat ; and for the moment grief was 
precluded. 

Twas the period I had reckoned upon for days 
past ; " for," said I to myself, " the secret will 
then come out — I will squeeze her hand, and be 
particular in observing whether it returns the pres- 
sure— whether her eye be moist — her voice firm" 
— in short, I had determined on the most scruti- 
nous observation. 

The moment arrived ; fear, hope, love, and 
curiosity, were battling within me. Her hand was 
in mine ! 

'Twas like the magic touch of a harlequin's 
wand ! — My resolutions vanished in a trice, and my 
mind became instantly mystified. How she felt or 
seemed, Cupid alone knows. For mine own part, I 
could not look in her face ; but remember hearing 



48 THE LIFE OF 

her wish me a plain " good bye/' in the most good 
humoured tone possible. 

Henry Vernon could hardly utter a farewell ; but 

<c Turning his face, he put his hand behind him, 
And with affection wondrous sensible, 
He wrung my hand, and so we parted." 

Scenic novelty, together with a mother's cheer- 
ings, contributed to disperse the gloom which hung 
over me. Then came the metropolitan wonders to 
engage my attention, so that I managed to keep 
up my spirits tolerably well as long as my mother 
remained with me. 

At the end of three weeks I found myself settled 
in the office of an attorney, and my beloved parent, 
happy in the assurance of my present comfort, and 
the hope of my future prosperity, prepared to return 
into the country. But I was no longer the thought- 
less school-boy. Love had already, in some degree, 
softened the metal of my disposition. The wound 
of severed friendship was yet green, and the pangs 
of parting with my mother were, in consequence, 
the more acute. 

I had not been many days in my new situa- 
tion before I discovered the total misapplica- 
tion of my talents. 'Twas altogether a mistake 
— I was no more fitted for an attorney than for 



WILMOT WARWICK. 49 

a statesman or a stable-boy — my genius was 
neither forensic, as Mr. Vernon had supposed — 
nor pugilistic, as my father had imagined — nor 
philosophical, as my mother fancied ; but essenti- 
ally romantic, as I have discovered to my cost. 

It was just of that kind, which, while it enables a 
man fully to appreciate all the divine pleasures of 
life, such as Woman's love and Shakspeare's poetry, 
incapacitates him from making such exertions as 
can lead to an allowable enjoyment of these bless- 
ings. I say " allowable," because he will enjoy 
them, if possible, whether allowable or not. 

It was that species of genius which will keep a 
man out of mischief, if he be rich — and lead him 
into misery if he be poor. In the one case, it will 
make him agreeable and gentlemanly — in the other, 
ridiculous and beggarly. It will keep him out of 
the stocks, or the felon's ward ; but, by no means, 
secure him from the workhouse or King's Bench. 

In short, the disposition of my mind was pre- 
cisely such as would have most probably insured 
my happiness, had I not been cheated of my patri- 
mony by a cock-pheasant. Chance, however, 
ordered it otherwise. I took a draught from the 
fountain of legal science, and it acted like an ill- 
timed emetic, annulling the salutary properties of 

£ 



50 THE LIFE OF 

my early education, and ultimately leaving my mind 
in so delicate a state, that it would afterwards 
imbibe little else than dainties. 

But not only was the drudgery of my professional 
studies opposed to my inclination, I also felt 
myself much scandalized by the extra occupations 
which were occasionally forced upon me. Block- 
head that I was ! — yet do not accuse me of in- 
gratitude, because I had not sufficient sagacity to 
discover the actual kindness of my master's seeming 
severity. 

I was foolish enough to think that I had no busi- 
ness to take the footman's place, till the footman, 
with commensurate ability, could act in mine. 

I was, moreover, so blind to mine own interests 
that I could not even see the privilege of receiving 
no wages. 

Neither could I duly appreciate the benevolence 
of my master, who, having taken me with a very 
limited premium, was willing to lighten the weight 
of conscientious obligation, by increasing the num- 
ber of my duties. 

It was my business to open the door to every 
costermonger who chose to knock. Gentlemen, 
who a few weeks before would have taken me by 
the hand, now overlooked me as a sort of shop-boy ; 



WILMOT WARWICK. 51 

and when I waited on any of my master's friends, 
I was told u to wipe my shoes, and walk into the 
back parlour.' 5 

And yet, methinks, had I been mildly re- 
quested, instead of being peremptorily commanded, 
I could have gone through double what I did, 
without thinking it a degradation. As it was, 
nothing but the deep sense I entertained of Mr. 
Vernon's kindness, in obtaining for me what he 
conceived an eligible situation, enabled me to 
withhold from complaint : his motives were all in 
all, and I determined to show my gratitude by 
practising submission. 

I regret exceedingly that for the first twelve- 
month of my residence in town, no single incident 
occurred which is worthy of particular remark. I 
can only assure my readers that not even Don 
Quixote could have been more thirsty for adventure 
than myself. Emma Vernon had overturned my 
philosophy, or rather, she had torn away the veil 
which education had thrown upon my nature ; 
and when, after long concealment or subjection, 
our real disposition is by some chance suddenly 
revealed or made free, (love and grief being 
equally prone to elicit the truth), there is no know- 
e 2 



52 THE LIFE OF 

ing what extravagance it may lead us into. For 
my part, I acknowledge myself as among the most 
romantic of youths. 

(You smile, Sir, superciliously, as though you 
would say, " I wonder any man dare make so ab- 
surd an acknowledgment." 

Now, Sir, it may happen that you have a just 
reason for calling me to account in this particular. 
You are most likely equally removed from the mire 
of common place and the mists of romance ; and you 
will perhaps allow, that however ridiculous the ex- 
travagant speculations of a fanciful imagination 
may appear to the worldly and sordid, the narrow 
calculations of a mere money-getter, are, at least, as 
absurd, and infinitely more degrading to the prac- 
tiser.) 

I said I was the most romantic of youths. As 
chance or the d— i would have it, the first books 
I lighted on were the works of Byron and Moore. 
They were precisely of the kind to do my master 
an essential service, as neither the bumps of idea- 
lity nor amativeness were particularly prominent 
on his cranium; but, with regard to myself, it was 
like putting fire to a train of gunpowder. Nothing, 
in short, was wanting to complete the mischief, but 



W1LM0T WARWICK. 53 

a perusal of Walter Scotf s " Bride of Lammer- 
moor." It roused every particle of romance, and 
I omitted no opportunity of traversing the neigh- 
bourhood of Smithfield on cattle days, in the hope 
of exercising my heroism in the succour of some 
fair lady pursued by an enraged ox. If enraged 
oxen had been only one-tenth part as numerous 
as fair ladies, I should have been, long ere this, 
either gored to death, or renowned past hyper- 
bole. 

If there be any poor wretch particularly meriting 
the consideration of the charitable, it is he, who, 
without the inspiration, is afflicted with the madness 
of poetry. Such was my case : it did not lead me 
into the neglect of my master's interests, but it 
fairly blinded me to mine own ; and though I 
managed to get through my stated duties with 
tolerable regularity, I knew as little about the 
merits of the case as the automaton chess-player. 

Every spare moment in the office was devoted to 
the muse, and my desk was very shortly filled with 
" Odes to Sensibility," and " Acrosticks to my 
Mistress." — " Childe Harold, 1 ' and Emma Vernon, 
divided my attention ; and I was ever sighing either 
with the one, or for the other. Released from the 
duties of the day, it was my custom to take a ro- 



54 THE LIFE OF 

mantic turn in Kensington Gardens ; then, retiring 
to my lodgings, I would shut myself up in my bed- 
room, to revel in literary luxury, and scramble over 
glaciers with Manfred, till the sudden disappearance 
of my light, as the last bit of wick was extinguished 
in the socket, would put an end to my intellectual 
excursions, and leave me to grope my way to bed 
in the dark. My employer was one of those men 
who boast the virtue of never overlooking their de- 
pendents' industry, but make a grand mistake in 
confounding zeal with sycophancy, extravagantly 
rewarding the truckling servility which merely 
attends to the satisfaction of their caprice, and 
barely remunerating the plain honesty which exclu- 
sively considers their positive interest. My supine- 
ness, therefore, in the study of my profession, was 
less displeasing to my master, than a stubborn 
determination never to flatter his vanity, nor encou- 
rage his whimsicalities. He evidently disliked me, 
and the more so, perhaps, as he had no legitimate 
grounds for complaint, He could not accuse me 
of being neglectful. Always strict in the observ- 
ance of office hours, and never guilty of truancy, 
he could only arraign my marked unwillingness to 
act the part of his door-keeper and errand boy. 
Despising my master, and meeting with little 



I 



WILMOT WARWICK. 55 

sympathy among his clerks, it can hardly be ex- 
pected that a natural aversion to my profession 
should diminish in consequence. In short, I began 
to ruminate on the propriety of acquainting my 
mother with the state of ray feelings, when suddenly 
my attention was drawn another way by the receipt 
of a letter from Mr. Vernon, informing me that he 
had unexpectedly received an appointment of con- 
siderable importance in India, and was on the eve 
of taking his departure— that he was anxious to 
see me once more before he quitted the kingdom, 
perhaps for ever : and that I must request from 
my master leave of absence for a fortnight. Of 
course, his family were to accompany him ; but I 

learned from his letter, that a Mr. , (of whom 

the reader is yet ignorant) was to accompany him 
likewise. 

u O, true," said I, after pausing a moment to 
consider the seeming strangeness of the fact, " his 
relations reside there." 

This young gentleman was introduced to the 
family of the Vernons just before I came to Lon- 
don, — a fine, handsome fellow, withal; and, equally 
with myself, an admirer of the beauteous Emma. 
My reasons for not fearing him as a rival, were 
surely all sufficient : let the reader judge : — 



56 THE LIFE OF 

Harry Vernon once told me in confidence, that 
his sister " had as lief look upon a toad — a very 
toad, as see him ;" nay, even Emma herself had 
declared him to be " an impertinent, disagreeable 

puppy" 

What, then, could I possibly have to fear ? — 
Nothing to fear ; but, how much to lament ! — 
She was going off to India — and her brother too ! 
— 'twas sad news ; and even the thought of seeing 
my mother again, could scarcely yield me comfort. 

Having obtained the sanction of my master, I 
took a place in the stage coach, and in due time 
found myself once more in the company of all I 
held dear upon earth. My mother had been in- 
vited to meet me, nor did the pleasure she experi- 
enced on my arrival, appear to exceed that of 
Harry Vernon and his worthy parents. Old 
Adam, too, came running forth to greet me, — 
" but,'' said he, " London han't made ye much 
fatter, Master Warwick !"— He seemed to be as 
ignorant of the real fact, as she who had caused 
the mischief :— love, as a food, is little better than 
" the chameleon's dish.''* 

Emma — faithless Emma ! — 

I know not how it is, but, with all my miseries 
before me, I can never think upon the follies which 



WILMOT WARWICK. 57 

caused them, without smiling. Folly, alas ! is more 
frequently coupled with misery than crime. Had 
I been a seducer, I had probably fared better — 
certainly, no lover can have possibly fared worse. 

Emma's welcome on seeing me again at her 
father's, was just as coldly uttered as her farewell 
when she parted from me eighteen months before. 
<fc 'Twas strange — passing strange !" — I was no less 
surprised at the inconsistency of her conduct, than 
grieved by its apparent unfeelingness. In sooth, 
'twas hard that a year and a half's constancy, 
backed by at least a score of sonnets and acros- 
ticks, should meet with no reward. As the most 
intimate friend of her brother, I had surely some 
claims upon her kindness; as the slave of her 
charms, I merited her pity ; as a rational being, 
I deserved an explanation. Alas, for the man who 
seeks reason in woman ! He is unquestionably a 
brute who will not acknowledge her fascination ; 
her many virtues ; her heavenly influence on our 
sex ; the good she ultimately does ; and the happi- 
ness she frequently insures : but, as to her rule of 
action — if she have any — bless her, it remains a 
profound secret. 

Emma had certainly much improved in general 
manner and appearance during my absence, and 



58 THE LIFE OF 

was, in truth, a very fine, showy girl. Her deserts, 
I am ready to allow, far o'erreached so poor a prize 
as my unworthy self; but that (as you well know, 
Sir) was no business of mine ; and, as I did not 
allow even the very cold reception she had given 
me, to damp the ardour of my love, it was not likely 
that I should suffer discouragement from any reflec- 
tions upon my own demerits. 

Nothing daunted, therefore, I commenced an at- 
tack, by throwing out a few compliments, and 
amorous glances ; but she seemed cautiously to 
evade offering any opportunity for secret parley ; 
and after various manoeuvres, I began to doubt the 
possibility of effecting a breach on the first day. 

Just at the moment, however, that my resolutions 
were withdrawn, we were, by some sudden chance, 
left alone. Emma did not at first seem aware of it. 
I paused to gather resolution — rallied my forces — 
drew my chair towards the window where she was 
sitting— -hemm'd- -sighed — moved my chair a little 
closer : —Every thing was ready — my hand upon 
my heart — her name upon my tongue — -when, hey! 
presto I suddenly springing from her chair, she ex- 
claimed, " Bless me ! did I not hear the gate bell?" 
and skipped out of the room like a young roe : — 
so that I just got far enough to discover, how very 



WILMOT WARWICK. 59 

difficult it is to make up one's mind upon such 
occasions; and what perplexity and agitation he 
must necessarily incur, who stands upon the thresh- 
old of love when there is a probability of having 
the door shut in his face. 

I heard no bell ; but thus much was certain : 
when she reached the top of the stairs leading down 
to the hall, she met her brother, who jokingly ex- 
claimed, w A-ha, Miss Emma ! 'tisn't he !" 

" And who the deuce is he ¥" said I. 

While we were sitting at dinner, Mr. Vernon 
casually alluded to the name of the young gentle- 
man who was to accompany them to India, and I 
(wherefore I know not), in making my inquiry 
concerning him, addressed myself to Miss Emma. 
A deep blush overspread her cheeks, and she wil- 
lingly allowed her mother to answer the question. 

" But for the rain," said Mrs. Vernon, u he 
would most probably have been here to-day." 

The secret was out. — Neither Miss Vernon nor 
myself spoke again for some time. Her shame, 
however, (yet of what had she to be ashamed ?) — 
her confusion, rather, and my disappointment 
dwindled together ; so that by the time the cloth 
was removed, we had both of us regained our natu- 
ral composure. Nevertheless, I could not help 



60 THE LIFE OF 

thinking, had I been the chosen one, it might have 
rained millstones but I would have kept such an 
engagement. 

'Twas surprising how cordial we became after 
this denouement. — We talked over old matters, 
carefully omitting the subject uppermost in our 
thoughts, till the happy youth arrived, which he 
did about tea-time. On his entering the room she 
blushed again. — He blushed himself — and so 
did 1 :— 

Her's was the blush of love— -his, of pride — mine, 
of humiliation. It cost me a pang or two at the 
time, but I gradually recovered, and slept soundly 
upon my pillow the following night, without a single 
particle of envy or jealousy in my mind. 

When I descended into the breakfast-room the 
next morning, I found the charming Emma sitting 
there alone, busily employed in the manufacture of 
a silk purse e Immediately on seeing me she rose 
from her chair, and advancing with an openness — 
a warmth of manner, such as I had not observed 
since the time of our earliest acquaintance, she 
wished me a " good morrow."— 

** I have been more than two hours, " said she, 
" at work upon this purse, and have this instant 
completed it — how do you like it ?" 



WILMOT WARWICK. 61 

I could not do less than compliment her taste, 
and eulogize her industry : — 

" Which," said she, " are entirely thrown away, 
unless you will accept the fruits of them." 

" Is it for me, Miss Vernon ?" — 

" Yes, Wilmot !" she replied, in a tone which 
seemed to correct my formal Miss. " 'Tis made 
purposely for you, I assure you ; and if you will 
keep it for my sake— and think upon me some- 
times — " 

" I will pray for you for ever !" I exclaimed, fer- 
vently, " nor for you alone — but for the joint hap- 
piness of yourself and him who has been so fortunate 
as to obtain your affections." 

As I uttered this, her eye moistened, and she 
extended her hand. 

Had she spoken volumes, the appeal would have 
been less forcible ! Her look and manner seemed to 
say, — " You have done me wrong in doubting my 
respect — my esteem — nay, even a degree of parti- 
ality for you. Though the wife of another, I shall 
ever be amongst the warmest of your friends, and 
cordially regret any pain you may have suffered on 
my account — receive my tears as a tribute to my 
sincerity ; and let us shake hands in token of peace 
and mutual good will." 



62 THE LIFE OF 

And so ended my first love affair. 

I shall not dwell upon the miseries of parting 
with friends so doubly dear to me as were the Ver- 
nons. I saw them embark, and, after staying a 
few days with my mother in the country, returned 
to town. 

Scarcely had I recovered from the effects of 
Cupid's first shot, ere the little mischief-making 
god drew another arrow from his quiver; and, 
having dipped it in the sweet poison of another 
Helen's charms, he pointed it at my heart, and too 
successfully drew the bow-string. My new mis- 
tress was fond of music, so I bought a guitar; 
and having great natural talent for music, I made 
rapid progress, was soon enabled to accompany the 
voice, and, as I believe, sung myself into favour. 
The young lady behaved in such a manner as to 
give birth to hopes of the most flattering descrip- 
tion. We met frequently, and each meeting afford- 
ed additional proof that the affection was mutual. 
At length she left London on a visit to a relation 
at Norwich. In parting with her every doubt was 
removed — she acknowledged her passion ; and I 
was the happiest of mortals. 



WILMOT WARWICK. 63 

Thus far the manuscript is fairly written, and in 
a hand which might be said to indicate a mind at 
ease. What follows is, at times, scarcely legible, and 
bears evident marks of hurry and agitation. Its 
frequent inaccuracies and zvant of perspicuity, I 
have not scrupled, at least, in some degree, to re- 
medy ; otherwise it is precisely as entrusted to me. 

Henry Vernon. 



" The happiest of mortals !" — Five years have 
passed over my head, since, in the unsuspecting 
ardour of youthful love, I penned that sentence. 
I resume the pen briefly, to complete, in sorrow, a 
narrative which I commenced in innocence, and 
which I expected would lead to a climax of joy. 
Hopes, at least, were mine : they are so still ; but 
not, as then, on earthly things. I had my mo- 
ments of unalloyed happiness — loved, laughed — 
was open to the charge of folly — but could have 
repelled with earnest and conscientious truth the 
imputation of guilt ! 

Your favour, my dear Harry — my tale shall be 
brief as it is sad. I am as unable to dwell upon 
my miseries, as you may be disinclined to peruse a 
lengthened relation of them. 



64 THE LIFE OF 

Helen ! — how I loved her ! On the evening of 
our separation, as I have said, she acknowledged 
me the master of her heart ; wept, and suffered me 
to kiss away her tears ! 

I was led to understand that she would return 
to town in about three months. We corresponded 
in secret for some time : at length her letters be- 
came less frequent — worse than that, less impas- 
sioned. I begged an explanation — she replied 
that she w r as averse to any thing clandestine ; she 
feared that, by continuing to correspond, we should 
necessarily divulge the secret — she suspected that 
her friends would be opposed to the connexion — 
in short, it was evident she was opposed to it her- 
self. 

Still, unwilling to believe her capable of such 
baseness, I determined on awaiting her return to 
JLondon. Six months, however, elapsed, and yet 
she came not — I wrote ; but received no answer. 
Another twelvemonth passed on, and yet I received 
no intelligence concerning her. 

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. I had 
fed upon the nothingness of fancy, till reality was 
too heavy for my mind. In this degenerated state, 
I met unexpectedly in the street the traitorous 
author of my sufferings, I passed her unnoticed ; 



WILMOT WARWICK. 



65 



but so violent was the effect of this rencontre, that 
I had much difficulty in supporting myself to my 
lodgings. Arrived there, I threw myself upon the 
sofa, and having recovered in some degree, began 
to ruminate on the proper steps to be taken. At 
this juncture a young man, to whom I had been 
introduced about three weeks before, called upon 
me. I informed him of what had transpired, and 
he did the utmost in his power to comfort me. 

We had more than once talked over our love 
affairs together ; but, till now, the names of our 
mistresses had been kept secret — mistresses, did I 
say ? — Our mistress should have been the word— 
our common mistress ! 

The reader will immediately perceive how we 
stood affected the one towards the other ; but he 
cannot fully conceive the violence of my feelings, 
when young Barlow declared himself the successful 
suitor of Helen ! The intelligence astounded me. 
In the impetuosity of the moment I not only exe- 
crated her as the very soul of baseness, but threw 
out insinuations insulting to the honour of my 
rival. He replied in a manner ill calculated to 
make me retract the accusation : insult upon insult 
followed, and he left the room abruptly. 

My feelings, always violent, had never been so 

¥ 



66 THE LIFE OF 

worked upon ; neither did Barlow suffer them to 
subside, ere his friend waited upon me with the 
usual demand and alternative. His challenge was 
unhesitatingly received ; I rejoiced in the idea of 
writing the name of my false mistress in the blood 
of her paramour ; and was only anxious to bring 
the affair to a speedy conclusion. 

Each succeeding hour, however, cooled my fury. 
The creature of impulse, I soon perceived that 
passion had goaded me beyond the bounds of 
reason and justice, and that I had suffered the dis- 
gust, originating in a woman's heartlessness, to 
end in a flow of undue invective upon my friend. 
Still, I conceived, he must have acted unfairly in 
some degree, and that he could not have proceeded 
thus far, without becoming acquainted with Helen's 
pre-engagement. To suppose that she had all 
along kept it an entire secret, was unnecessary to 
the completion of her infamy. Some few scruples 
she could not surely have withheld. It had been 
the part of Barlow to remove them — " and," said I, 
" it shall be mine to avenge." But my resolutions 
continually wavered. The thought of Helen in- 
flamed me — she was the enemy I went forth to 
meet. It was not the life of my rival I sought, but 
the destruction of her happiness. Then came my 



WILMOT WARWICK. 67 

mother into my thoughts, and I wept for sorrow. 
Sophistry refused to aid me. Every sentiment of 
religion and true dignity upbraided me. But I 
rejected reason, and evaded all thoughts of heaven ! 
The die was cast. I had no alternative but to su- 
persede my folly by sin. 

What a night was that preceding the fatal 
morning ! 

" Between the acting of a dreadful thing 
And the first motion, all the interim is 
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream !" 

Again and again I sprung from my bed, racked 
with the thought of my poor mother. Her child — 
the only comfort she possessed, the sole object of 
her prayers and solicitude — was on the point of 
completing his misery, by the forfeiture of his life 
or honour — " But," exclaimed I, "my cause is 
great. Is there living a man who would be calm 
under such wrongs ?" 

'Twas in vain. I could not sink other men to 
my own level. I felt myself guilty of unwarrant- 
able provocation. I had forgotten my respect to 
man. Did it mend the matter to challenge the 
vengeance of my God ? To say truth, the qualms 
of conscience had well nigh got the better of my 

F 2 



68 THE LIFE OF 

valour, when day-light broke upon my reveries, 
and bid me prepare. 

When Barlow and myself met upon the ground, 
he looked at me, as I thought, more in sorrow than 
in anger. I could have spoken to him in concilia- 
tory terms. He could, probably, have done the 
same to me; but the eyes of our seconds were upon 
us, and we took our places. 

The word was given, and we fired ! — I felt my- 
self secure : a momentary exultation was the con- 
sequence. It was but momentary, however ; for, 
on looking round, I perceived that Barlow had 
fallen ! He was reclining in the arms of his second, 
who beckoned me to advance. I ran to him and 
took hold of his hand. 

" Wilmot," said he, " why was this ? — Why 
did you use such language as no man of honour 
could possibly brook ? Think not that Helen has 
been the cause of my meeting you thus. You 
have endangered your life for one, in every respect, 
unworthy of you — she is not honest — I know her 
to be frail ; but am not her seducer.'' 

Judge of my horror and amazement ! It was evi- 
dent at first sight the wound was serious. A post- 
chaise being immediately procured, poor Barlow, at- 
tended by his second, proceeded with all possible 



W1LM0T WARWICK. 69 

speed to town. He would not permit me to 
accompany him — " Fly, fly," said he, " and leave 
me to my fate !" 

] remained transfixed to the spot, heedless of 
my second's persuasions that I should leave the 
country, or, at least, secrete myself till the issue of 
the melancholy affair was decided. After many 
unavailing attempts to convince, he left me to my- 
self. Horror and remorse stalked over the wreck 
of my happiness, and I threw myself upon the 
grass in a fit of utter despondency. — The blood of 
my rival was yet moist upon the turf before me ! 
"Why had I fired ? — Why had I not opened my 
breast to the aim of my antagonist ? Heaven 
knows that I was not guilty of murderous inten- 
tion, for at the moment of my raising the pistol, all 
thought was estranged from my mind. — My mother ! 
— 'twas madness to meditate on her. — A calm of 
settled melancholy followed ; then I suddenly arose, 
and proceeded hastily to Barlow's lodgings. 

Prepared for the worst, the intelligence of his 
being yet alive yielded me some comfort ; and I 
was further relieved by the intimation that his case 
was not entirely hopeless. I could not see him : 
his surgeon forbade all interruption to his most 



70 THE LIFE OF 

perfect quiet, as the only measure which could be 
of any possible benefit. 

" When sorrows come, they come not single spies, 
But in battalions." 

On reaching my lodgings, I found a letter await- 
ing my perusal. It was from a medical man ? 
informing me that my mother was seriously ill, and 
that she desired my immediate presence. Such a 
clash of unfortunate events bewildered me. — 
" Surely," I exclaimed, " my reason cannot hold !" 
I believe from that moment it has been impaired. 
Writing a short note to my master, I left town by 
the earliest conveyance. 

In due time my mother's cottage was before me, 
— my heart beat high, and my fortitude sank under 
a load of evil forebodings. I paused a while to 
calm my feelings ; but on raising my eyes, per- 
ceived that the window-shutters of my mother's 
bed-room were closed. I advanced with quickened 
step to the door. It was opened by the village 
nurse, who expressed her joy at seeing me, " for," 
said she, " if any thing can do her good, it is the 
sight of you." 

The old nurse first cautiously announced me, 



WILMOT WARWICK. 71 

then beckoning me to advance in silence, she left 
us to ourselves. 

My mother was dying. We neither of us spoke 
for some time : at length she proceeded to inform 
me concerning the little property she was to leave 
me, — how I was to act, and so on. This done, 
she became somewhat more composed, — talked of 
old times, — of my father, — of the Vernon family ; 
and uttered her last benediction upon her miser- 
able son on the following morning. 

She died ignorant of my guilt, and in that there 
was some comfort. I will not — cannot dwell upon 
the sufferings I endured in the loss of my parent. 
The funeral rites performed, I hastened back to 
London, and found Barlow still alive. His disso- 
lution, however, was hourly expected, and a second 
inquiry found him dead. 

My crime of blood was followed by such castiga- 
tion as remorse and imprisonment could inflict. 
With the lapse of time, however, I became more 
composed — more confident in the mercy of Heaven; 
but the world held out no further incentives — my 
energies were blasted for ever. 

Sometimes, as the only means of alienating my 
mind from wretchedness, I visited the theatre; 



1% THE LIFE OF 

and in the sorrows of Virginius have more than 
once drowned mine own. I was one evening in 
the pit of Drury Lane Theatre, when the atten- 
tion of the audience was suddenly divided between 
the noble acting of Macready, and the effect it had 
produced upon a lady in the dress circle, close to 
that part of the house where I was seated. As 
she raised her head on recovering, methought I 
recognized features once familiar to me ; and when 
at length she perfectly regained her wonted com- 
posure, and I had an opportunity of observing her 
more closely, I became fully assured that the object 
of my very earliest attachment— Emma Vernon — 
was before me ! 

An elderly gentleman and lady were with her, 
probably the parents of her husband. Yet, where 
was he ? and her brother ? I burned with desire 
to know their fate ; not that I desired a renewal of 
their acquaintance: the consciousness of murder 
rendered me averse to it ; and they, whom in the 
days of my youth and innocence were most dear 
to me, I now most dreaded to meet. 

At the conclusion of the play, I hastened to the 
box doors in the hope of seeing her go out. She 
came; and, in passing, casually threw her eye 
upon me, but knew me not. I was completely 



WILMOT WARWICK. 73 

tongue-tied — choked in my eagerness to make 
inquiries touching the fate of Harry Vernon, and 
restrained perhaps by the never-failing recollection 
of my blood-stained repute. She was handed into 
a carriage, and rapidly driven off. I attempted to 
follow, but soon lost the object of my pursuit, 
owing to the obstruction of the crowd. 

Months have passed on, during which time, not- 
withstanding the most unremitting exertions, I have 
been unable to obtain any intelligence concerning 
the beloved companion of my youth. I but wish 
him (if he yet live) to come to the possession of 
this narrative. Under the idea that he may do so 
hereafter, either by chance or management, I have 
taken up the pen once more, thus briefly to add a 
statement of the melancholy facts which have tran- 
spired since we parted. 

The various literary trifles which make up the 
packet, occupied many a spare hour during the last 
two years of my apprenticeship. To Henry Ver- 
non I bequeath them. 

W. W. 



REMAINS. 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 

He had a buoyant chirping disposition, always enjoying the 
present moment. 

Sketch Book, 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 



Old January had just made his appearance, 
clad in an unusual load of wintry garb, and fore- 
warning all good housewives to lay in an adequate 
stock of Newcastle coals and woollen hose. 

Business commanding my absence from London, 
I presented myself at the office of the far-famed Bull 
and Mouth, booked a place in the Birmingham 
coach, and on the following morning, at the time ap- 
pointed, was in readiness to occupy it. My travelling 
companions, however, were before hand with me. 
A middle aged, demure looking lady, accompanied 
by a pretty girl of about sixteen, occupied one- 
half the coach, and opposite the former sat an 
elderly gentleman ; while I — nothing loth to con- 



78 THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 

front the fair visage of the younger female — took 
my position in the remaining corner. 

Our male companion might be some fifty years 
old, with every apparent prospect of living fifty 
more. There was a compactness in his form, and an 
uprightness in his manner of bearing it, which at 
once indicated the full possession of health and 
bodily vigour ; and he would every now and then 
draw up his chest and throw back his shoulders 
with something of a martial air, slapping his 
knee occasionally, and with considerable force, as 
though to convince all observers that he could both 
give a cuff and bear one. He was evidently a 
character, and in his dress something peculiar was 
observable. He wore a pepper-and-salt coat, cut 
in some measure after the fashion of the old school, 
and closed up to the neck with steel buttons. 
Only a small portion of his cravat was visible, but 
this, by the way, was of the most snowy whiteness. 
His breeches were light drab, particularly well 
made about the knees. A neat ribbed stocking and 
low gaiter told well upon his well-formed leg, which 
ever and anon he rubbed down and patted, as if he 
were coaxing a pet spaniel. A low-crowned hat, 
with a broad brim, completed his dress, which bore 
throughout the marks of cleanliness and precision. 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 79 

He had only been in the hotel one night, and 
nobody knew, exactly, who he was ; though every 
one unhesitatingly pronounced him u a very queer 
fellow," and I heard the chamber-maid alluding to 
him as "the odd gentleman. As we drove out 
of the inn-yard, he gave this same chamber-maid a 
very odd wink and parting nod, which she returned 
with corresponding significance, betokening, as I 
fancied, that their intimacy was just as familiar as 
their acquaintance had been short. 

The expression of his face was one of sly good 
humour, gentlemanly and agreeable, with a spice 
of mischief in it ; an expression which I imagined 
arose from his having been in the constant habit of 
winking and leering at the girls from his youth 
upwards. One eye was a little less open than the 
other, and the wrinkles which surrounded it gave it 
a peculiar archness. His mouth was marked by a 
subdued smile ; and his face altogether exhibited 
such a strange medley of gravity, good nature, and 
roguery, that it was almost impossible to look upon 
it without an inclination to laugh. 

He said nothing at first beyond the ordinary 
civilities of the day ; yet the simplest observations, 
as he made them, were imbued with a certain por- 
tion of drollery ; and you might sometimes imagine, 



80 THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 

when he briefly addressed you on some common- 
place topic, that he was endeavouring to excite 
certain notions in your mind — mischievous, perhaps 
— but, certainly, foreign to the remarks which 
were passing between you. Every now and then, 
with his half-cocked eye looking upon vacancy, he 
would smile, as if prompted to do so by the recol- 
lection of something funny which had passed, for 
all I knew, between him and the chambermaid. 

At length, putting his hand into his coat pocket, 
he suddenly drew forth his handkerchief, and a 
piece of misletoe coming out with it, lighted on the 
lap of my fair companion opposite. The poor girl 
blushed, but did not offer to remove it, while the 
elderly lady, not at first observing the accident, 
was at a loss to account for my sudden burst of 
laughter. It was impossible to subdue my mirth, 
having, as I conceived, made the full discovery of 
what had been going on between the old gentleman 
and the chambermaid. 

" God bless my soul!" said he, addressing him- 
self in a tone of the most imperturbable sobriety to 
the young lady — " are you aware, Miss, of the 
peculiar properties of that plant, and of the enviable 
freedom which is sanctioned under its pendent 
umbrage, that you suffer it to lie so invitingly 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 81 

to the hand of that young gentleman opposite 
you !" 

This put me on my mettle. Feelings of gal- 
lantry and respect contested within me ; and I 
thought the old gentleman had made tyrannical 
use of his privilege : 'twas like tickling a man's 
nose. with a feather, while his hands are fettered 
behind him. Heaven knows, a rosy cheek was 
never among my aversions, and the blushes of my 
fair companion opposite were by no means calcu- 
lated to diminish the temptation. I felt it my 
duty to say something smart and pretty ; but the 
elderly lady cut short the rising compliment : — 

" What d'ye mean, child," said she, " by keep- 
ing that piece of rubbish on your lap ?" 

Saying this, she snatched away the misletoe, 
and with an air of great indignation presented it to 
the odd gentleman. Nothing further occurred at 
the moment, except that the poor girl sat blushing 
and biting her lip, with her eyes fixed upon the 
window, not daring to encounter the sight of our 
comical friend, who sat twiddling the plant about 
in his hand, and looking alternately at each of us 
with an expression of the most inconceivable drol- 
lery. The elderly lady alone seemed unmoved by 
it. She maintained a countenance of the most 



82 THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 

inflexible severity, and evidently thought the gen- 
tleman an old fool — -if not something worse. 

" Do you not think, Madam/' said he, u that 
the discontinuance of our good old Christmas gam- 
bols, occasions a great gap in the circle of our 
harmless pleasures, and that the general decline of 
those national customs, which were wont to be so 
rigidly observed on fasts and festivals, is an evil 
much to be lamented ?" As he put the question 
he smiled, and looked at me as though he could 
anticipate the answer of a prude. 

" O, indeed," she replied, " I think we have 
quite enough of them remaining ; and if these 
were abolished likewise, 'twould be no great griev- 
ance. Our young men are quite free enough, even 
now ; and the young women, too, are by no means 
behind hand in tendering encouragement." 

" What, Madam," added the odd gentleman, 
" I presume you found your men and maidens 
refractory last Christmas; or, rather, did some old 
swain so far forget himself as to be guilty of free- 
dom with their mistress ?" 

The elderly lady smiled. Nevertheless, she 
thought his conduct, considering their very short 
and casual acquaintance, rather free and easy ; nor 
did she scruple to tell him so : besides, how should 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 83 

he know — as by his conversation he had evinced 
that he did — that she was a spinster ? The odd 
gentleman, however, was one who generally knew 
more of other people's affairs than other people did 
of his. Perhaps the chambermaid had been com- 
municative. 

" Aye, aye, " continued he, " old swains are some- 
times apt to do such things; and, denied the full 
possession of their heart's desire, they are ever ready 
to secure the few precious privileges of custom." 

The lady smiled again, while my young com- 
panion opposite, covering her face with her hand- 
kerchief, held down her head, and seemed to have 
much difficulty in stifling her laughter. " O, ho V' 
exclaimed the odd gentleman, " then it was so ; 
was it, Miss ?" The lady smiled a third time. 

" No, indeed, Sir," said the girl, as well as her 
laughter would permit. 

The elderly lady looked as black as night ! 

" Well," continued the odd gentleman, " for 
mine own part, I very much lament the decay of 
many practices in vogue when I was a boy ; and 
none more than the innocent merry-makings of 
Christmas. Geoffrey Crayon, in his charming 
* Sketch Book,' has proved himself so worthy a 
champion of the good old cause, that he deserves 

g 2 



84 THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 

to be presented with a large piece of roasting beef, 
a plum-pudding, and a piece of mistletoe, with a 
pretty face under it, every year, I much fear, 
however, the spirit of Christmas revelry is extinct, 
and not to be revived by the exertions of author- 
ship. People cannot be merry when told to be so ; 
and printed directions will never do where jollity 
is wanting. As to the outward forms, we have 
still a portion of these, but they sit ill upon us — 
Jaques in Falstaff 's doublet, Hamlet with Punch's 
belly. We have still the roast beef and plum- 
pudding, but without the good humour that 
should attend them ; and, instead of making the 
best of every thing, we fly into a passion because 
the meat is too much done, or the pudding deficient 
in brandy. Spirits of another kind are wanting — 
they evaporated, as I take it, much about the time 
that French quadrilles and steam engines came 
into vogue. After dinner the old people go to 
cards, and the young ones are told ' not to make 
too much noise.' If we enter upon a little jocu- 
larity, what a wretched attempt it is. Miss faints 
at the sight of mistletoe — and, what is worse, 
master believes her fears ! How different were 
these matters in the days of my boyhood. The 
old people would shut up the whist table, at any 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 85 

rate, on this occasion. Remembering their early 
days, they would come among the young ones, and 
not only enjoy the mirth as spectators, but some- 
times even as participators, My grandfather would 
open the ball ; while my grandmother (good old 
soul!) would busy herself in the preparation of the 
wassail bowl and snap-dragon." 

The odd gentleman then went on to relate the 
following story.. 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 



The wond'ring fair one turn'd to chide, 
'Twas Edwin's self that press'd ! 

Goldsmith. 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT 



" I shall never forget/' continued the odd 
gentleman, " one Christmas night — it must now 
be two or three and thirty years past — I was on a 
visit at the house of my uncle, who, being the eldest 
of my grandfather's children, with a larger hall and 
longer purse than either of his brothers, entertained 
the whole of his nephews and nieces, who, together 
with his own children, formed a tolerably numerous 
assemblage. My cousin Phoebe was, perhaps, the 
flower of the flock. — She was just such another 
young lady as yourself, Miss, (addressing my oppo- 
site companion) — just about your age; and, in 
short, just the very lass of all others most pleasing 
to my taste." — 



90 CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

(The elderly lady began to fidget about in her 
seat, while her young protegee blushed an acknow- 
ledgment of the compliment.) 

" Ah ! Phoebe was my first, if not my only love ; 
but as I never evinced any degree of affection ex- 
cept what our relationship might seem to warrant, 
and, indeed, was not thoroughly assured that I did 
love her till she was past my obtaining, she was 
never put to the disagreeable task of refusing ray 
solicitations. 

" Phoebe, in fact, had quietly engaged herself 
before I was aware of it, to a young man who went 
abroad to study as an architect. He had been for 
some time secretly kindling a flame within her 
bosom ; and it burst forth on the day of his depar- 
ture for the continent. 

" He had been gone eighteen months ; and poor 
Phoebe impatiently contemplated the lapse of six 
months more, ere the object of her affections might 
be expected to return. 'Twas, as I have already 
stated, one Christmas night. We were assembled 
in my uncle's great hall, all of us, with one excep- 
tion, as happy as mirth and good cheer could make 
us. The one excepted was my cousin Phoebe, 
whose apprehensions for her distant lovers safety 
would not permit her to join in the revels with her 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 91 

usual gaiety. A whole fortnight had elapsed be- 
yond the usual period at which she received letters 
from him ; and she began to fear, that in the course 
of his professional pursuits, he had either fallen 
from the top of the Coliseum or been seized by 
banditti. Sometimes, perhaps, thoughts still more 
frightful would cross her mind ; and her imagina- 
tion would alight on the rival charms of some fair 
Italian. 

"Phoebe, however, did all she possibly could to be 
merry, and her cousins were not behind hand in at- 
tempts to console her. We all made out a story of 
probabilities for her comfort ; how letters sometimes 
miscarried ; how they were sometimes stopped by 
the police, from motives of political suspicion ; with 
sundry other little well-meant inventions, which, 
however, failed in producing the effect intended ; 
for an abstraction of mind, and oft repeated sigh, 
told plainly the unhappy state of her feelings. 

" A servant entered the hall to say that the vil- 
lage musicians were at the door, desiring to know 
if their services were required. ' Let them come 
in/ said my uncle, and the next minute six fellows 
in masquerade dresses, their faces concealed by 
visors, presented themselves. In their united force 
they formed a very excellent band: two violins, a 



92 CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

violoncello, a flute 9 a guitar, and a tabor. They 
were immediately ordered to strike up a country 
dance ; and poor Phoebe, with a face more in uni- 
son with the aspect of a cloister than a ball-room, 
went down the middle and up again with me. 

" The dance concluded ; my uncle requested a 
short silence, as one of the musicians would give us 
a song ; and the man with the guitar standing 
forward from the rest, accompanied himself in the 
following; — 

u ( Thro' varied scenes I wander on, 

Yet no repose can find ; 
No change of place can e'er efface 

Thy beauties from my mind. 

I look on Art's triumphant works, 

And Nature's wonders see ; 
But, while my eyes are fix'd on them, 

My thoughts are bent on thee : — 

On thee alone — on thee alone — 

For thou art all to me ; 
No matter where — my only prayer 

Is ever urg'd for thee ' 

46 Every one seemed delighted with the singing, 
except poor Phoebe, who burst into tears at hearing 
so unexpectedly, and at such a moment, too, the 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 93 

very air which Frank had learned from her on the 
day previous to his departure. 

" The words, likewise, bore a singular allusion to 
her own case; and she only wished they might 
prove the distant echo of Frank's sentiments. 

" c Come, come, Phoebe/ said her father, c we 
must have none o' this. Now, if you'll immediately 
cheer up, and join your cousins in a game of blind- 
man's-buff, you shall know something that will 
please you concerning Frank. Come, let me hide 
those weeping eyes (so little befitting the present 
scene) with this handkerchief; and now,' said 
he, having tied the bandage, 6 catch who ye 
can !' 

" No sooner was this done, than the masked singer 
threw off his disguise, and Frank —for he it was— 
stepped forth— not to the surprise of the company 
in general, because every body, save the one most 
interested in the affair, was pre-informed of what 
was to happen. 

" Frank put himself in the w r ay of his blind-folded 
mistress, so that she could not fail immediately to 
catch hold of him. 'Twas as much as he could do 
to remain calm and inactive during the examina- 
tion he underwent at that moment. Never, surely, 
was poor Phoebe so much at a loss as to what she 
should make of him. He was taller than anv of 



94 CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

the boys there ; but yet not near stout enough for 
me ; it was certainly not her father : — 

" I do not know who it is/' said she, with a sigh. 

Frank had had much difficulty in forbearing thus 
far; but 'twas impossible to restrain his feelings any 
longer. He clasped her round the waist (though with- 
out saying a word), and kissed her again and again ; 
while Phoebe, enraged at the supposed liberty, dis- 
entangled herself from his hold in an instant, and 
tore the bandage from her eyes to look upon him, 
whose sole right, as she fancied, had been usurped. 

" Lord, Madam," (continued the odd gentleman, 
addressing himself to the staid spinster opposite) 
" this was a meeting which it would have done 
your heart good to have witnessed. Little Phoebe, 
whose cheeks, a moment before, were moist with 
tears of sorrow, now wept for very joy — * God bless 
your sweet little heart,' exclaimed her enraptured 
lover, " how could you think for a moment, that 
I was indifferent to you ? — Perhaps,' continued 
he, 4 you doubted my fidelity ? — my honour?' 

" <N — no," said Phoebe, sobbing; ' I — I— o — 
only — dou — doubted your sa — a— afety.'' 

c< I never think of this, Madam, without feeling 
young again — without, in short (said he, rubbing his 
hands briskly together) — without feeling inclined 
to—' 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 95 

" To do what ?" exclaimed the spinster, in a 
half shriek, as though she feared his inclinations 
might have some tendency to her. 

" To do nothing, Madam :" said the odd gentle- 
man, "but, to assert that, without love, even 
heaven itself must fail to gratify. " 



The odd gentleman's story was evidently more 
to the taste of the younger lady, than to that of 
her protectress. The latter ironically pronounced 
it all " very fine and romantic ;" but contradicted 
the narrator's affirmation, that the witnessing such 
a scene would have induced her to countenance the 
indecorum of a game at romps : — 

" Believe me, 1 ' said he, " it would ; you would 
have been as merry as the best of us ; all your pru- 
dential notions would have melted into freedom 
and good humour ; you would have played at snap- 
dragon with the children, and even acknowledged 
the dominion of the misletoe." 

She denied it : — 

" I doubt it,' 1 said he> drawing forth the dreaded 
plant. 

She affirmed it. 



96 , CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

" What, Madam J" he replied, shaking the twig, 
cc should you really consider it an affront ?" 

" Unquestionably, Sir ; and a most unpardon- 
able one !" 

"I can hardly credit you, Madam/' said he, 
leaning forward. 

" 'Tis as true as " 

_#-'•■* * & * * # * * 

" As I sit here," she would have said ; but, just 
at that moment, the coachman, deceived by the 
snow, misguided his horses, and the coach was 
overturned ! 

If the evil consequences of our overthrow had 
been in any degree commensurate with the screams 
of the ladies, I should have to tell of broken bones 
and limbs disjointed. Nothing serious, however, 
occurred ; except, indeed, that the odd gentleman 
and his opposite companion were brought into 
closer contact than could have been otherwise war- 
ranted by propriety — a circumstance which may 
probably remain heavy upon the lady's remem- 
brance, even to this very day ; though the odd gen- 
tleman positively declared that he took no advantage 
of the opportunity offered. 

The coach was the greatest sufferer, and it 
was soon discovered that we should be obliged to 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 97 

defer the completion of our journey till the follow- 
ing morning ; so that we had no alternative but to 
proceed on foot to a small inn on the road side just 
by, and there take up our abode for the night. 
Pressed as I was for time, this delay cost me 
some anxiety, and the ladies declared it to be " the 
most unfortunate thing that had ever happened to 
them." The odd gentleman alone bore the mis- 
hap with becoming philosophy; and in the cool 
carelessness which he evinced upon the occasion, 
methought I saw at once the whole art and secret 
of securing long life, health, and happiness. 

On arriving at the inn, the elderly lady made a 
terrible fuss ; bouncing about the place from one 
end to the other, in search of what she was pre- 
determined not to find — " a decent apartment ;" 
and, by her manner of treating with the landlady, I 
was induced to suppose that she suspected there 
had been a plot privily laid for overturning the 
coach. Having selected the best bed-room, she 
next desired a separate sitting-room ; but the house 
affording no such extra accommodation, the poor 
antiquated virgin, malgre her scruples, was necessi- 
tated to take tea with her fellow-travellers in the 
parlour. 

The odd gentleman was a long time without 

H 



98 CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

making his appearance, a circumstance which in- 
duced the elderly lady to hope that he had deserted 
us altogether — " the loss," said she, " might be 
easily borne with." Suddenly a scream was heard 
in the kitchen, followed by the loud laughter of our 
host and hostess. The elderly lady looked alarmed, 
but the younger one conceived the matter dif- 
ferently, entertaining, most likely, the same opinion 
upon the subject with myself. If it were so, her 
surmise was partially confirmed a few minutes after- 
wards by the appearance of the little bar-maid, who 
came in with the tea-things. Her face was flushed 
— her hair loosened — her cap crumpled; and when 
I asked after our comical companion, she hastened 
out of the room, answering only with a laugh. 

" So, so,^ thought I, " this is a spirited old gal- 
lant, with a vengeance ! He makes a grand tour, 
I presume, every Christmas, with a piece of mistle- 
toe in his pocket, flying about from flower to 
flower, like a bee, and gathering honey from the 
cheek of every pretty chambermaid he chances to 
light upon." 

The tea being now made, the elderly lady was 
about to proceed in her duty of dispensing that 
welcome beverage, when the door quietly opened, 
and in walked the odd gentleman — as Heaven shall 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 99 

help me— still with that pernicious plant in his 
hand ! — " Good God,!" exclaimed the elderly 
lady, half inwardly. The younger hid her face in 
her handkerchief. For my own part, I must 
acknowledge to the impropriety of having laughed 
outright. The odd gentleman alone remained 
unmoved. 

" You will be pleased to recollect, Madam, that 
your vow, half formed in the stage coach, was sud- 
denly crushed by the overturning of the said 
vehicle — 'twas cut short by Fate, and you are, 
therefore, still free to act as you please."" 

" Indeed, Sir, I shall," said she. 

" Now, Madam," he continued, plucking a 
berry from the mistletoe, and holding it up between 
his finger and thumb, " touching the peculiar 
properties of this transparent globule, I would fain 
illustrate— " 

a I declare, Sir," exclaimed the elderly lady, 
starting up from her chair, " you are beyond all 
bearing — I consider your conduct to be highly 
improper, particularly before this child; and al- 
low me to say, Sir, that if you do not immediately 
cease to be ridiculous, I must leave the room.'' 

" La, aunt," said the girl, " I'm sure the gen- 
tleman means no harm." 

h 2 



100 CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

" Hey dey ! Miss ! and you must prate, must 
you ? I insist upon your following me directly — 
I'll have tea brought up into my bed-room — there, 
at least, we may remain unmolested." 

She seemed determined to go. 

" I declare, then, Madam," said the odd gentle- 
man, " (although you much mistake me), I will 
say no more upon this subject.' , 

The lady was more determined than before. 

" To assure you, Madam, that I am earnest in 
this resolve, (albeit much against my inclination), 
I hereby resign my prerogative, and — behold ! 
— throw the dreaded plant into the fire." 

This was conclusive, and the old spinster left 
the room immediately. 

Thus abandoned by the ladies, the odd gen- 
tleman, after a short pause, exclaimed, — 

" Ah, poor woman ! Like myself, I presume, 
but unable to bear disappointment so well. How- 
ever," continued he, " since we are left alone, we 
must amuse ourselves as best we may; and, if you 
have no objection, we will order a bowl of punch, 
and finish the evening in quiet and comfort." 

The punch was ordered accordingly, and on the 
landlord bringing it in, he was pressed to accept a 



CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 101 

glass himself, and to carry a second to his better 
half. 

** Thank ye, kindly , v said our honest host, " and 
right glad I am in being enabled to accommodate 
you with sleeping-rooms ; for if this had happened 
at another time, I might have been put to the 
shifts. It so falls out, however, that a lodger of 
mine — a poor artist, staying here for the benefit of 
country air — has just departed on a visit of a few 
days to a patron in the neighbourhood, and his 
room is, in consequence, at your service, Sir (ad- 
dressing himself to me). You'll excuse its wearing 
something of an untidy look ; but I do not feel 
myself justified in altering the position of any of 
his painting apparatus, as the gentleman is very 
particular, and was never in a greater passion than 
with poor Polly one morning, for attempting, as 
she supposed, to put his room in order. 

We sat for some time discussing various matters, 
till, at length, conversation beginning to flag, the 
odd gentleman drew from his pocket a small bundle 
of manuscripts, saying, as he ran them over, " I 
have met with many strange adventures in my 
time, and have come to the knowledge of as many 
more. My travelling has been extensive ; and, 
with a natural alacrity to notice every thing out of 



102 CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 

the common way, aided by a singular good fortune, 
in meeting with so much matter for observation, it 
is no wonder that I should now possess a marvel- 
lous stock of untold adventures and strange facts. 
Here are two narratives, differing widely in tone 
and character. If, in the absence of more worthy 
entertainment, you have a mind to hear one, choose 
at hazard.'" 

I chose :— " In truth," said he, " the fittest for 
a winter fire side — a tale of ghosts and goblins." 



THE HAUNTED MILL! 



To tell how he gradually managed to bring his property into use 
without exciting surprise and inquiry — how he satisfied all scruples 
with regard to retaining the property, and at the same time gratified 
his own feelings by marrying the pretty 3Iarie ! 

Braczbeid&e Hall. 



THE HAUNTED MILL! 



In one of the most secluded spots of this our sea- 
girt land, was to be found, some sixty moons back, 
the remains of an old village, comprising about a 
dozen cottages, all, save one, untenanted, and falling 
to decay. No road, nor path, marked its con- 
nection with any other habitable place ; nor can the 
imagination conceive a scene more barren and deso- 
late than the neighbourhood of Rock Town. 

The village itself occupied the centre of a deep 
dell, the sides of which formed a striking medley 
of rock and precipice, partially clothed with fir 
trees, and wild evergreens. Bold and romantic, 
the scene would have been prized by Salvator 
Rosa, as a subject for the canvass ; requiring no- 



106 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

thing but the adjuncts of a black sky, and group 
of bandits, to render it most effective. 

Looking down from the summit of the heights 
which formed this extraordinary and crater-like 
nestling place, you had a bird's-eye view of an old 
water-mill, several tileless roofs, ruined walls, and 
enclosures, now filled with nettles, but marking out 
the plots, whilom cultivated as cabbage gardens. 

The history of Rock Town is singular, com- 
mencing with a tale of love and elopement. A cer- 
tain scapegrace of a fellow, one Andrew Harbottle, 
having conceived a violent passion for a young 
maiden, denominated Jenny Dowlas, declared his 
passion, and was referred by his mistress to her 
father. Andrew was rejected, and retired in 
tears. Jenny followed him, and in a tone of the 
deepest affection asked him why he wept ? 

" Go," said Andrew ; " since you cannot relieve^ 
do not pity me. 

" Thou art a poor spirited fellow," said Jenny. 

" Thou art a cruel girl to taunt me thus ;" ex- 
claimed the desponding youth ; " for, however I 
may be unable to regain my own happiness, I have 
at least sufficient spirit to refrain from injuring 
yours, by the renewal of a suit, which your parents 
have declared shall be ineffectual. " 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 107 

" Did / ever say it would be ineffectual?" said 
Jenny, blushing. 

" Why, then, refer me to your father?" inquir- 
ed Andrew. 

" 'Twas a matter of duty, said Jenny. 

" And why do you follow me now ?" asked 
Andrew. 

""Tis a matter of — of — of — affection," simpered 
Jenny. 

" Then," exclaimed Andrew, exultingly, and 
catching the little panting beauty in his arms, 
" His a matter of no further doubt ; I must and 
will have thee. Go, gather thy few little valuables 
in a bundle — meet me down at the style in the 
dusk of the evening, and we'll off to the parson !" 

Jenny, acceding to the proposal, decamped with 
her lover ; and about three weeks after, their dis- 
consolate parents were informed that they had 
been married in the border town of the adjoining 
county ; but months passed on ere any thing more 
transpired concerning the fugitives. 

At length, when all hope of discovering them 
was abandoned, and the old women of the village 
had decided that young Harbottle was gone to the 
devil, he suddenly appeared among them in the 
dress of a miller, seated on the front of a new cart, 



108 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

and driving a very noble, and well caparisoned 
horse. All parties came flocking forth to meet 
him, anxious to know the fate of Jenny. 

" And, faith, v said Andrew, " Jenny will be 
happy to see just as many of ye as can find a place 
in my cart, and are willing to go back with me 
over the moor ;"' and then he went on to relate how 
chance had conducted him to a most beautiful little 
valley ; how he had worked himself into favour 
with the neighbouring farmers ; and how he was 
now employed as miller to the surrounding com- 
munity. He rang forth the praises of Rock Town ; 
enlarging upon the blessings of peace and retire- 
ment ; and doing all he could to instil into his old 
companions the spirit of emigration. Many of the 
younger and more enterprising villagers, accom- 
panied him back, and established themselves in the 
new settlement, which increased in riches and con- 
sequence, till the death of Harbottle, who was 
shortly followed by poor Jenny, leaving her son 
Adam proprietor of the mill. 

Among the villagers was an old woman much 
given to lying and prophecy. She understood, or, 
at least, had the credit of understanding, something 
of medicine : a few chance cures established her as 
a mistress of the art, and the worthy inhabitants of 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 109 

Rock Town soon became impressed with a strong 
faith in her knowledge and capacity. Having thus 
far insinuated herself into the high opinion of her 
neighbours, she ventured on a further stretch of 
cunning, and at length assumed the wand of necro- 
mancy. 

But for this old woman, Adam Harbottle, 
like his father Andrew, would, most probably, 
have been regarded as " the great one of the 
city;" and Dame Ducket, in disputing the pre- 
cedency, so far irritated her more legitimate 
rival, that, in the heat of his wrath, and in the 
hearing of the whole assembled village, he de- 
nounced her as a vile impostor. 'Twas a rash step 
on the part of Harbottle. The villagers, astonish- 
ed at his temerity, all turned their eyes upon Dame 
Ducket, who, rising slowly from her seat by the 
spinning wheel, thrice waved her distaff, and then 
lifting her withered hands above her grey head, 
declared him a lost man — a very devil incarnate ! 

From that time poor Harbottle was looked upon 
mistrustfully by the inhabitants. He had drawn 
this imprecation upon himself in a moment of 
choler ; and his iage having subsided, he now 
began to doubt the security of his soul. Supersti- 
tion, when once given way to, generally prevails ; 
and the worthies of Rock Town were certainly not 



110 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

proof against the infection. They listened with 
dread credulity to their prophetess, who pronoun- 
ced it unlucky to have any dealings with the 
object of her wrath, and prognosticated that he 
would come to some miserable end ; so that Har- 
bottle had little else to do than make up his mind 
to be damned. 

The old woman, flattered by her partial success, 
kept up the imposition, and increased her influence 
every day. She foretold that Harbottle would be 
either drowned in the mill-dam, or crushed between 
his mill-stones. She even ventured to pronounce 
the evil day, — it came- — Harbottle was missing ! 

The villagers surrounded the mill, but none 
could muster sufficient hardihood to enter. At 
length Dame Ducket appeared, and commanding 
her disciples to follow her, began to ascend the 
step-ladder leading to the mill door. The ladder 
was of considerable height, and Dame Ducket's 
agility not having increased with her years, she 
soon began to tremble with feelings of insecurity. 
When about two-thirds up, she turned upon her 
followers, exclaiming against their cowardice in not 
daring to enter the mill except at the hazard of her 
life ; and immediately after, making a false step, 
she fell, with a shriek, to the ground. The villagers 
having conveyed her home upon a shutter in a 



THE HAUNTED MILL. Ill 

state of insensibility, returned to prosecute their 
search in the mill. 

The discovery was soon made. Between the 
mill-stones were seen sundry pieces of rag and 
broad cloth, doubtless the remnants of Adam's 
dress; while the pulverised bones and tufts of 
hair which lay scattered about on the boards just 
by, were, with an equal certainty, fragments of the 
unfortunate man himself! 

Dame Ducket, so great an adept in the curing 
of other people's maladies, could discover no 
remedy for her own, and she died in a few days, 
declaring that her ghost, in company with that of 
Harbottle, should haunt the mill ever afterwards ! 

Thus ended the prosperity of Rock Town. Half 
the houses became immediately tenantless, and 
the mill was regarded as a place set apart for the re- 
ception of goblins. In the howling of every blast 
was heard the moaning of Adam's spirit ; in the 
creaking of every timber, the voice of Dame 
Ducket ; and no one ventured to pass the haunted 
mill after night-fall, It stood, therefore, for a 
length of time without any tenants, except the rats 
and mice ; unless, indeed, the ghosts of the miller 
and Dame Ducket may be reckoned as such. 
Many were the tales told of their having appeared 



112 THE HAUNTED MILL, 

in various forms and places. Sometimes Adam was 
to be seen running round the water-wheel, hard 
chased by old Dame Ducket; and then strange 
noises would be heard in the mill, as of two spirits 
struggling with one another. Every gust of wind 
stripped the roof of a tile, which ever and anon 
came rattling down into the street — a sure omen of 
coming evil to any one near whom it happened to 
fall ! and there it would remain ; no one daring 
to touch what he conceived influenced by the 
charms of magic. The water-wheel was now 
choked up with nettles. The wooden bridge which 
crossed the mill-stream, fell into the water and was 
carried away by the current. Terror reigned within 
the building, and Desolation roamed without ! 

It was in this state, when an old miser, grudg- 
ing the expense of a cottage, consented to become its 
inhabitant, in consideration of occupying its cham- 
bers rent free. The worthy villagers could hardly 
credit the reality of his intention to enter the haunted 
mill, and did all in their power to dissuade him from 
a step, which they conceived must inevitably lead to 
destruction. He persisted, however, in his rash 
determination, and the whole community assem- 
bled to see him take possession. They accom- 
panied him to within a few yards of the broken 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 118 

bridge, and there paused, huddling themselves 
together, and trembling, from head to foot, like 
the reeds in the mill-stream. The miser, taking 
a plank of sufficient length to reach over the 
rivulet, placed one end of it close to the water's 
edge, and then raising the other, brought it to a 
perpendicular. 'Twas a moment of the utmost 
terror with the villagers. They could not believe 
that he would have the courage to let it fall on the 
opposite bank. He looked back at them for a 
moment, as if he half feared it himself — Down it 
went ! The spectators shrunk back one and all, 
in dire expectancy of something terrible, while 
Abel the miser — walked quietly over. 

Whether he would have the daring to go fur- 
ther, was, however, yet a question. A gust of 
wind whistled over the building, and a tile leaped 
from the roof as the warning of danger. This 
was enough to convince the trembling witnesses of 
Abel's rashness, that his case was next to hopeless ; 
and they began to put up prayers for his safety. 
Nothing daunted, however, he moved up the step- 
ladder, stood upon the landing, and placed his hand 
upon the latch of the door. The villagers only 
wondered he had got thus far in safety. The latch 
was lifted — they started back. — Will he dare to 

i 



•114 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

push open the door ? — He did so : a dire yell 
accompanied the motion, and away flew the whole 
assembly, as if a legion of devils had possessed 
them ! — Abel, quietly remarking that the hinges 
were rusty and wanted oiling, walked delibe- 
rately in. 

The next morning the villagers came in a body 
to witness the issue of Abel's temerity. They 
found every thing as they left it. All was silent. 
Suddenly they heard a groan ! The casement open- 
ed, and a head in a white cap popped out ! Sup- 
posing it AbeFs ghost, they turned to flee ; when a 
low sepulchral voice arrested their steps : — 

" Stop P said Abel : " No ghost am I, although 
with ghosts I hold communion. — Thus saith the 
miller's ghost : Abel, go round each morn from 
house to house, and in this wooden bowl collect 
from every cot a slice of bread — And thus saith 
old Dame Ducket : 

u Nor bread alone ; but bacon too ; 
And beer a pint, they'll add thereto." 

The imposition was readily agreed to by all the in- 
habitants save one — old Rugby, who suspected that 
the whole was a tricky and refused to pay his con- 
tribution on the first day. He slept so miserably, 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 115 

however, on the following night, and was so haunt- 
ed in his dreams by ghosts of millers and misers, 
that he never afterwards grudged payment, though 
still inclined, occasionally, to he sceptical. He 
sometimes smiled, as if in contempt of his folly in 
submitting to the roguery of old Abel; but he 
could not make up his mind to repeat the experi- 
ment of a refusal ; and, therefore, for the mere 
sake of his comfort, compounded with his common 
sense. 

One morning, old Abel was missing at the usual 
hour of making his rounds. The day passed, but 
he came not: the next morning, and yet he did not 
appear. — " He's dead V* exclaimed Rugby. 

This same Rugby had a son, Dick, whom he 
treated more like a slave than a child of his own 
begetting. He had, in fact, a most unpaternal dis- 
like to the lad ; and was for ever loading him with 
false accusations, and inflicting upon him unmerited 
castigation. In fact, Dick led so coarse a life on't, 
that he more than once bethought himself of 
running away ; and doubtless would have done so 
long before, had it not been for the attractions of a 
rosy cheeked little damsel who scoured his father's 
copper kettles. This girl was a descendant of the 
Harbottle family ; the only one of the line now re- 

i2 



116 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

maining in the village ; and, if a haunted mill could 
be looked upon as a matter of any value, such was 
little Kitty's patrimony- 
Abel the miser not having made his appearance 
for two or three days, it was thought necessary that 
a true report of his fate should be obtained ; and 
Dick Rugby being the stoutest young fellow in the 
village, was deemed the fittest man for a ghostly 
embassy, and deputed accordingly. It will-not be 
wondered at, that his father should be ready to 
sanction the enactment of a part assigned to poor 
Dick by the community at large. Like Brutus, he 
conceived the public good was all in all ; and he 
consigned his son to the risk of perdition with 
most Roman-like composure. Be it remembered, 
however, he had all along been doubtful of the truth 
of old Abel's story ; and this may in some measure 
palliate his conduct in regard to his son. 

The villagers, being collected together, moved 
onward to the mill, Dick Rugby leading the pro- 
cession, and his father, with Kitty, following close 
at his heels. When they arrived at the mill stream, 
there was a dead stand, and old Rugby turned 
pale. Dick advanced a few steps, then paused : his 
manhood for the moment failed him. To the sur- 
prise of every one, Kitty sprung from the crowd 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 117 

and offered to go herself! This roused every atom 
of Dick's waning courage: he bounced over the 
bridge without more ado ; and the next minute had 
ascended the step-ladder leading to the mill door. 
Kitty, bursting with affection, and fearing for her 
lover's fate, could no longer resist the desire of 
sharing his danger ; and, escaping from her mas- 
ter's grasp, she quickly joined Dick Rugby, and 
they entered the haunted precincts together. 

A full half hour passed on in solemn silence, and 
neither of them appearing, old Rugby began to 
tremble with apprehension, while the rest of the 
witnesses looked at one another most dolefully, 
turned up their eyes to heaven, and shook their 
sapient heads in mournful concert. At length a 
deep groan was heard — a shriek followed — and Dick 
Rugby, suddenly springing out of the mill, made 
but one step from the top to the bottom of the lad- 
der, and in a tone of the greatest terror exclaimed, 
" A ghost ! a ghost ! fly ! fly ! — -a ghost ! !" 

]So words can describe the consternation which 
ensued. The affrighted spectators all scampered to 
their respective homes, bolted their doors, and went 
to prayers ; nor did they dare to venture again from 
their abodes till the following morning, when old 
Rugby was to be seen running about from house to 



118 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

house, in a state of perfect distraction, beating his 
breast, and calling upon the names of his little house- 
maid and son Dick ; neither of whom was to be 
found. His former scepticism now turned upon 
him like a fiend ; and his cruelty as a father embit- 
tered his memory : he loaded his neighbours with 
invective for their dastardly spirit in deputing his 
only son as a champion against the devil ; and 
soundly upbraided himself for acceding to the ful- 
filment of so base a measure. 

The villagers, beginning to doubt the safety 
of his wits, followed him about the place wher- 
ever he went, fearing lest he should commit some 
act of desperation. He rambled into a garden 
which communicated with the haunted premises of 
the mill ; but, as he approached the stile leading 
thereto, his trembling companions slackened their 
steps, and conjured him not to hazard a nearer ad- 
vance. " Silence !" said Rugby ; " some one 

speaks !" — They listened; and, after a few mo- 
ments'' pause, a hollow, sepulchral voice exclaimed, 
u Bury me!'' 
The sound evidently proceeded from the other 
side of the hedge. — They listened again — " Bury 
me !" cried the voice a second time, and in a much 
louder tone than before : — 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 119 

" Who are you ?" said Rugby, bold in despair. 

No answer was made : so Rugby, after a short 
pause, leaped the stile, and nearly tumbled over the 
prostrate body of the deceased Abel. 

" Let us lift him into the garden," said Rugby, 
coolly ; but his companions appeared loth to un- 
dertake the task. Some ran off, and the rest seem- 
ed half inclined to follow the example, when ano- 
ther ghostly voice horribly resembling that of old 
Dame Ducket, pronounced the following : — 

" Bury him ! bury him ! ere you sleep ; 
On the hill, by the mill, six feet deep." 

No one dared to disobey the mandate, and old 
Abel's body was disposed of accordingly. 

After this, Rock Town was gradually deserted. 
The worthy inhabitants, alarmed at so rapid an 
increase in the family of the ghosts, began to fear 
that the mill would shortly be insufficient to accom- 
modate them ; and as they were by no means desir- 
ous of entertaining such lodgers in their own cot- 
tages, they packed up their goods and chattels, and 
betook themselves to the surrounding villages- 
Old Rugby alone remained, careless as to whether 
the spirits of the mill should be inclined to vex his 
quiet or not. " If they choose to come," said the 



120 THE HAUNTKD MILL. 

miserable old sinner, " why let them. If not, 
here am I fixed for ever, resolved to do penance in 
solitude." 



It will be seen, by referring to the opening pass- 
age of the foregoing narrative, that, since the occur- 
rence of the very extraordinary events related 
therein, several years have elapsed ; and the reader 
has now to be informed, that the present appear- 
ance of Rock Town is the very reverse of every 
thing ghostly or desolate. 'Tis a busy, bustling 
little place ; and poor old Rugby, who has been 
seen ere now roaming in wretchedness through the 
ruins of his depopulated birth-place, is one of the 
busiest and happiest among the inhabitants. The 
redoubted mill, so fraught with magical association, 
is no longer looked upon with horror, nor approach- 
ed with dread ; and instead of the ghosts of Dick 
Rugby and his darling, we are cheered by the sight 
of Dick himself, a jolly, plump miller, while his 
wife Kitty, the blooming mother of three chubby 
children, holds out liberal promise of a fourth. 

Matters shall be explained as briefly as possible. 

Dame Duckets fate is known ; and my readers 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 121 

need scarcely be informed that she was precisely 
what Harbottle had pronounced her, u a cunning 
old impostor.'" Harbottle, however, could not, at 
the time, thoroughly trust to the dictates of his 
common sense, and he determined to be on the safe 
side at all events. On the morning, therefore, that 
had been declared by the dame to be his last, he 
secretly escaped from the village, having, during 
the preceding night, indulged in the waggery of 
dispersing about the mill stones a quantity of pow- 
dered pork bones, pieces of rag, &c. Not daring 
to return afterwards to see the issue of the trick, 
he would have still remained in ignorance, but 
for an accidental meeting with Dick Rugby. Har- 
bottle, however, had in the mean time obtained a 
very eligible situation, in a neighbouring town, 
and never made his appearance in the village 
again. 

How successfully old Abel managed to turn his 
cunning to advantage (finding means for house, 
bed, and board, in the credulity of the villagers), 
I need not say. Dick Rugby's was the voice which 
so solemnly ejaculated the command for the miser's 
interment ; and his sly little partner contrived to 
imitate the tone of Dame Ducket's speech with 
equal effect. Abel died suddenly — for aught I 



122 THE HAUNTED MILL. 

know — in the act of tying up his money-bag; and 
it strikes me (though Dick was ever somewhat 
silent upon this point of the story) that, when the 
young lovers entered the mill, they found things in 
that position. The mill was Kitty's by right of 
descent ; and Kitty was Dick's by right of affec- 
tion. He felt, therefore, no compunction in appro- 
priating to himself whatever unclaimed good might 
be found in the mill ; and the miser's money added 
no small weight to his bargain. 

Dick, having suffered his father to wipe away 
the stain of undue severity, by a few weeks' peni- 
tence, returned to Rock Town — restored the old 
man's comfort — rebuilt the mill — reinstated the 
village, and has certainly done his full share in 
causing it to be re-peopled. 



The odd gentleman's story being finished, I 
was bound in common courtesy to tender my 
thanks and approval ; not, however, that I did so 
from mere civility ; on the contrary, the story, as 
he read it, was very diverting. Whether it will 
prove effective on the silent page, I know not; 
however, it can hardly be entirely deficient in 



THE HAUNTED MILL. 123 

interest ; and, under the assurance that it is not so, 
I have submitted it to the reader. It is certainly 
a strange composition ; perhaps merely intended as 
a simple story — perhaps meaning something more. 

The author seemed flattered by my approba- 
tion ; and, after some little hesitation and demur, 
he presented me with the remaining tale, together 
with his reasons for so doing. The tale I shall 
hereafter lay before my reader : the reasons I 
shall keep to myself. In the first place, however, 
let me be favoured by some little attention to the 
following brief narrative — being the unexaggerated 
account of a most frightful adventure, which hap- 
pened during the night of my stay at the Inn. 



THE DEAD ARM, 



AND 



GHOST OF CAESAR. 



u There's no such thing/ 1 

MACBETH. 



THE DEAD ARM, 



AND 



GHOST OF CESAR. 



The painters apartment having been allotted to 
me as a sleeping-room, I was conducted thereto by 
the little chambermaid, who, ignorant perhaps of 
her master's previous caution, delicately requested 
me not to displace any of the painter's apparatus. 
u He is such a particular man," said she, u and 
makes such a mighty fuss about his paints, and 
rubbish, that we have more than enough to do 
with him ; and so, if you please, Sir, excuse the un- 
tidiness of the room, and believe 'tis none of my 
fault." 

Truly, on entering the chamber, a man might 
with reason exclaim, " chaos is come again!" 



128 THE DEAD ARM, AND 

Slovenliness and confusion appear to be the usual 
characteristics of the abode of genius ; but here the 
signs were far more conspicuous than ordinary, and 
it was a difficult matter to walk a couple of yards 
in any direction without treading in a paint-box, 
or stumbling over a plaster cast. Such an hetero- 
geneous medley of pictures, prints, books, musical 
instruments, and wearing apparel, was surely never 
before congregated in so confined a space ; and 
certainly, if I had not been cautioned against it, I 
should have made free with at least so much room 
as might serve for the convenience of dressing and 
undressing. Perhaps my landlord carried his 
scruples a little too far ; however, it was with a 
good feeling, and I obeyed him to the letter ; re- 
fraining even from making the circuit of my bed, 
though strongly prompted to take a glance at 
the specimens of art, which, as I conceived, were 
likely to be collected on the opposite side of the 
room. — Never, surely, was the very laudable virtue 
of repressed curiosity so abominably repaid ! 

I had still, however, an opportunity of forming 
an opinion upon the powers of the absent painter. 
Close to the door was a large half-finished picture 
upon the subject of Brutus' encounter with the 
ghost of Caesar. It struck me as a forcible pro- 



GHOST OF C^SAR. 129 

duction, exhibiting something of the Fuseli man- 
ner; and the apparition in particular bore marks of 
that school — so eccentric, but at the same time so 
powerful. The spectre was represented as par- 
tially enveloped in a blood-stained robe ; one hand 
pointing to the wound inflicted by Brutus; and the 
other extended with all the decision of a finger- 
post towards the plains of Philippi. The drapery 
(which is no mean feature in the composition of a 
thorough good ghost) was disposed in a manner 
highly creditable to the designer's taste and 
knowledge of effect ; and the impression made 
upon my mind by the first sight of this picture, 
might probably have remained in perfect distinct- 
ness to this day, supposing even that the adventure 
which followed had not contributed to render it 
trebly indelible— butlet me not anticipate the sequel. 
Shivering with cold, I speedily undressed, 
jumped into my close-curtained bed, and, with my 
imagination bent on Caesar's ghost, I fell asleep. It 
was, however, a very questionable kind of repose. 
Not Caesar's ghost alone ; but others in abundance 
arose to perplex me, and the reader will perhaps 
not be surprised to hear that the spirits of millers, 
misers, and old women, were busy in the disturb- 
ance of my peace. 

K 



130 THE DEAD ARM, AND 

After a broken and troubled slumber of^about an 
hour, I awoke. The clock strucktwelve; that " witch- 
ing time of night/' when sprites and goblins hold 
their infernal levies, and discuss the most effectual 
mode of stirring up men's souls to unhallowed re- 
bellion against their bodies. Entertaining, how- 
ever, but very sceptical notions upon this matter, 
and having grafted my thoughts upon a more 
agreeable subject, I fell asleep for the second 
time. 

The apparition resumed its influence upon my 
mind, engendering fancies grim and horrible ! I 
lay upon my back, chained to the bed by some 
invisible power — unable to move a limb — incapable 
of utterance. This I knew was merely the pro- 
logue to some forthcoming deed of darkness, and I 
remained panting with fearful apprehension ! On 
a sudden the curtains at the foot of my bed were 
drawn asunder, and — O, horrible ! — two dire spec- 
tres appeared, bearing in their arms the body of 
the murdered Caesar ! They were on the point of 
hurling the bleeding corse upon the bed, as if un- 
conscious that I was lying there. I struggled for 
a time ineffectually : but, at length, with a violent 
convulsive movement, accompanied by an ejacula- 
tion — awoke ! 



GHOST OF CESAR. 131 

'Twas a most beautiful moonlight night, and 
through the opening of the curtains on the side of 
my bed opposite the chamber door, I could per- 
ceive, brightly gleaming in silver radiance, that 
part of the terror-fraught picture which was occu- 
pied by the ghost of Caesar. — " The devil take that 
painter !" I cried ; and, immediately after, the 
clock struck one ! So great had been my suffer- 
ings within the last hour, that I almost dreaded to 
challenge sleep again. Scarcely, however, was it 
thoroughly evident that I had only been afflicted 
by the unsubstantial workings of a disturbed brain, 
when, to my great surprise and subsequent horror, 
I felt something like an arm extended under my 
back! My fears were not aroused immediately; 
but, when I had fully obtained palpable assurance 
that there was an arm beneath me — when I felt 
the hand of this stray limb with mine own, and 
found it cold and inanimate — when I could dis- 
cover no body appertaining — and when, in addi- 
tion to each of these fearful circumstances, I had 
calmly convinced myself that I was wide awake, 
by making remarks upon the moonlight, upon the 
click-clack of the time-piece on the staircase, and 
upon the snoring of the odd gentleman in the room 
adjoining — when, in short, I was thoroughly jus- 

ic 2 



132 THE DEAD ARM, AND 

tified in exclaiming, u this is no dream ! v I then 
began to tremble from head to foot. I felt the 
hand again. As before, 'twas still and lifeless ! 
A cold perspiration came over me — my breathing 
thickened — my heart beat — and my tongue would 
scarcely obey the impulse which led me to exclaim, 
" What, ho ! fellow traveller ! v A snore was the 
only response. I then cried out for my landlord, 
but obtained no answer. Still the hand was there 
— I pressed it — " 'Tis evidently lifeless V said I. 
The attempt to draw it away was useless : it re- 
mained immoveable ! Though I could conceive 
no evil consequence from raising my body, I feared 
to hazard the experiment : so, remaining still as 
possible, I gently drew open the curtains on the 
window side of my bed-room— I drew them quietly 
apart — but, O ! how quickly let them close again ! 
— I saw — 

But, if you are predetermined not to believe 
me, you may as well o'erleap the remainder of 
my story. In truth, we are getting more and 
more sceptical every day — but not, methinks, the 
wiser. The word of an honest man is rejected, 
unless he can support his declared fact by certain 
reasons current — no matter what — so they be es- 
tablished ; while the sophist, substituting logical 



GHOST OF CESAR, 133 

ingenuity for substantial argument, legitimates the 
absurdest fallacies. If a man swear that he has 
seen a strange sight, we call him mad. By a 
roundabout method of ratiocination, however, he 
may account for impossibilities, and have the credit 
of possessing his wits, nevertheless : which is cer- 
tainly a case of flagrant injustice. And what right 
have I to suppose that this narrative will be re- 
ceived with belief, when the asseverations of Dr. 
Johnson have been treated with contempt ? The 
doctor declared that he heard his mother call 
6 Sam, Sam,' at a time when they were separated 
by a distance of many miles ; but no one believed 
him! 

"Well, Sir; I saw— ' 

" And what (in the name of insulted patience) 
did you see ?" 

" A tall figure by my bed-side ! — the exact sem- 
blance of Caesar's ghost as it appeared on the 
picture — the precise copy — a substantial counter- 
part ! It stood prominently forward, gleaming in 
the moonlight, and relieved by the dark back 
ground of a deep recess. On venturing to look a 
second time, I still perceived it plainly as before ! 
The sight nearly overcame me ; and, turning sud- 
denly upon my side, I endeavoured to smother my 



134 THE DEAD ARM, AND 

fears (as I nearly did myself) under the bed- 
clothes. But, lo ! the stray limb was gone ! what 
had become of it? and what was the cause of my 
right hand (which had been hitherto strangely 
inactive), being benumbed past the sense of feel- 
ing?" ' 

Perhaps I need scarcely be more explicit on this 
point. The foregoing questions will most probably 
solve themselves, leaving my readers to infer, that 
the arm on which I had Jain was no other than my 
own. In the restlessness of my troubled sleep it 
had accidentally got underneath my body, the 
pressure of which completely impeding the circu- 
lation of the blood, had rendered it cold, insen- 
sible, and as it were, lifeless. 

After the removal of the arm, I began to recover 
my self-possession, and strengthened my returning 
courage by reflecting, that as one great cause of 
my terror had rested on so ridiculous a deception, 
the other, when calmly investigated, might prove 
equally unsubstantial. Having mused for some 
minutes upon the subject, I determined, at what- 
ever hazard, to fathom the mystery ; and, raising 
myself to a sitting posture, I suddenly drew aside 
the curtains, giving a loud and valiant " ahem !" 
at the same moment. 



GHOST OF CESAR. 135 

The figure was there still ! and neither altered 
in attitude nor position. " Begone V I exclaimed; 
but might as well have hallooed to a figure of 
wood. " Speak, if thou canst," said I, in the lan- 
guage of Macbeth; " what art thou?" No 
answer, " Beshrew me, then," said I, IC but this 
is neither the conduct of a ghost nor a gentleman:" 
— and, truly, nor ghost nor gentleman was there. 
" What !— did it then vanish at last ?" 
" No — nor will it vanish till the painter takes his 
departure." 

" Was it then his evil spirit ?" 

" No, Sir : — 'twas his lay figure !"* 



* Editor's Note. — Some of my readers, possibly, 
may not be aware that it is the custom among pain- 
ters to make use of a large wooden figure, or doll, 
the limbs of which being moveable, it may be fixed 
in any position. It is chiefly serviceable in the 
painting of drapery, as exemplified in the case be- 
fore us, where the artist, having placed it in the 
proper attitude, had enveloped it in a large white 
robe, and copied its bold and natural folds with 
great exactitude upon the canvass. 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN 



AND 



OLD MAID. 



" Look upon this picture, and on this." 

HAMLET. 



Our party having re-assenibled in the coach at 
an early hour on the following morning, we pro- 
ceeded on our journey, and completed the remain- 
ing fifty miles in as peaceable a manner as the 
elderly lady could have possibly desired. The odd 
gentleman, to be sure, occasionally looked as 
though he meditated a renewal of his attack upon 
the demureness of the inflexible old virgin ; and it 
appeared that the young protegee, however pro- 



THE ODD GENTLEMAN, &C, 137 

found might be her feelings of respect for her staid 
companion, and whatever fears she might have of 
offending her by laughter, was still anxious for a 
little fun. In fact, it struck me more than once, 
that the young lady loved a little roguery, as well 
as the odd gentleman himself. There was mischief 
evidently at work in her brain ; it showed itself 
upon her lip ; it twinkled in her eye ; but the odd 
gentleman was not to be seduced from his good 
behaviour ; and whenever he addressed himself to 
his opposite companion, it was upon ordinary mat- 
ters, and in a tone of studied propriety. At part- 
ing, he tendered her a bow of the profoundest 
reverence, repressing even the natural smile, which, 
till now, had lighted up his good-natured coun- 
tenance : then, turning to the younger female, he 
invoked upon her the blessing of heaven, wishing 
her all health, happiness, and a good husband. 
For mine own part, I bid adieu to him with feel- 
ings of unfeigned regret. He shook me heartily 
by the hand, informing me that he was now many 
miles from his home ; but, that if chance should 

ever lead me into the neighbourhood of , he 

should feel himself much slighted by my neglecting 
to pay him a visit. 



138 THE ODD GENTLEMAN 

If ever there were a clash of dispositions in every 
respect diametrically opposite, it was to be seen in 
the case of the odd gentleman, and the ancient 
spinster aforesaid. It was evident the early wishes 
of both had been opposed ; but those wishes, 
though fixed on similar objects, differed widely in 
their nature ; and disappointment was the test 
which exhibited the true character of each. The de- 
sires of the one originated in feelings of warm- 
heartedness, and were chiefly directed towards pro- 
moting the happiness of their object. The wishes 
of the other, prompted by mere vanity, were 
rather of a receptive than of a communicative 
quality. Careless of man's love, she only wished to 
participate his good fortune, and would have united 
herself to any monied debauchee, rather than die 
an old maid. Disappointment in the one case 
occasioned much sorrow ; in the other, discontent. 
The gentleman's wounds healed in time ; but the 
lady's, chafed by the moroseness of her temper, 
will remain open to the last. 

The above is not mere surmise. The landlord 
of the inn, where the coach put up, gave me some 
particulars concerning the characters of my fellow 
travellers. The odd gentleman had been his fre- 



AND OLD MAID. 139 

quent guest, and by liberality and good humour 
had so far succeeded in gaining upon the affections 
of the entire household — -the old folks and the 
young folks, the men and the maidens — that 
his appearance was ever hailed as a signal for 
all to put on their happiest looks, and summon up 
additional zeal in the fulfilment of their vocations. 
The little children crowded round him, speculating 
upon his never-failing store of gingerbread ; the 
dog wagged his tail for pure joy ; the cat purred a 
welcome ; and the parrot, sporting all the English 
of which he was master (but speaking, as we hope, 
either in irony or ignorance), exclaimed, " Sad 
rascal !" 

The odd gentleman had contentedly jogged 
forward in the narrow path of singleness for 
near three-score years : but let no lady, there- 
fore, accuse him of being deficient in feelings of 
gallantry; for, however 'content he may have 
been to remain a bachelor, it was, that his philoso- 
phy had supported him, where his natural inclina- 
tion had been thwarted. Scarcely had his razor 
claimed its first harvest, ere he inwardly aspired to 
the honour of matrimony : but his wishes, in this 
matter, were not to be answered, and he emerged 



140 THE ODD GENTLEMAN, &C. 

from his teens — a disappointed man. He was once 
a lover upon instinct : he is now a bachelor upon 
compulsion : but, though he would have been hap. 
pier as a husband, he is happy a& it is. 



TWELFTH-DAY. 



<c And wears upon his baby-brow the round 
And top of sovereignty." 

MACBETH. 



TWELFTH-DAY. 



Having business to transact with a worthy squire 
who resided about a quarter of a mile from the 
town where the coach stopped, and being entirely 
ignorant of the neighbourhood, the landlord of the 
inn (with a kindness of heart which he probably 
imbibed from the odd gentleman) insisted upon my 
allowing one of his stable-boys to accompany me 
as guide. The latter informed me that I could 
not have chosen a better time for a visit to the hall, 
as Squire Wheatley was famous for his Christmas 
cheer, and particularly for the full observance of 
all the rites of Twelfth-day. I was the more pleased 
to hear this, remembering the odd gentleman's 
lamentation the day before upon the decay of those 



144 TWELFTH-DAY. 

merrymakings in which our ancestors delighted ; 
and hoped for once, at least, to see a realization of 
what I had so often heard from the lips of my 
grandfather. 

In truth, our old-fashioned gambols are not 
quite abolished. Wherever there is an oaken-pan- 
nelled hall and a capacious fire-place (so strong is 
the effect of external objects on the mind), there is 
sure to be some remnant of the " good old times ;" 
and Squire Wheatley's mansion was of the very 
kind to inspire you with antiquated notions the 
moment you beheld it. It was erected in the time 
of Elizabeth by some one, who, in honour of his 
queen, so designed it that the plan should represent 
the letter E ; there being in its front three gable 
ends, the two extreme ones projecting beyond that 
in the centre. Believe me, there is nothing like a 
high pointed gable end to bring before our " mind's 
eye" the manners of our forefathers. Then there 
is the clustered chimney — and the stone mullion to 
the windows — and the porch with seats on each side 
— and the stone in front bearing some traces of the 
family arms and the date of erection; — all these 
outward signs have their due effect in abolishing the 
fripperies of the present, and restoring the more 
substantial notions of times gone by. 



TWELFTH-DAY. 145 

Squire Wheatley received me in the most friend- 
ly manner, and forbidding all mention of business 
till the following dav, ordered his servant to con- 
duct me to the bed-chamber designed for my occu- 
pation. On ascending the staircase I encountered 
a host of happy little urchins on the midway land- 
ing, assembled before the door of the store-room ; 
each in turn taking a peep through the keyhole at 
the grand object of their meeting — a ponderous 
twelfth cake. But it was not the cake alone which 
excited pleasureable anticipations : the spirit of am- 
bition was amongst them, and each one speculated 
upon the honours of royalty, " running before his 
horse to market," and forming determinations as to 
what rule of government he should adopt in the 
event of drawing the character which brought with 
it the regal title and prerogatives. 

In the drawing-room I found a party, equally 
numerous, but of maturer years ; the several pa- 
rents of the little people I had left above, together 
with their elder sons and daughters ; nor has the 
rough beard of Winter often brushed a fairer cheek 
than that of Emily Wheatley, the squire's eldest 
daughter. Scarcely, however, had I time to make 
due obeisance to the assembled company, ere dinner 
was announced, and the village rector, offering 

L 



146 TWELFTH-DAY. 

his arm to the squire's wife, led the way to the 
feast. 

I forbear entering into any detail upon the sub- 
ject of the dinner table, else I should be unpardon- 
ably remiss in neglecting to comment upon the good 
things which came out of the rectors mouth, as well 
as the many which went into it. He passed un- 
qualified encomium upon every dish, and cer- 
tainly did his utmost to prove that nothing was 
superfluous; while the squire's youngest son, un- 
able to suppress his facetiousness upon the occasion, 
remarked that his reverence, both in doctrine and 
example, was unequalled, particularly when the 
former was delivered from the pulpit, and the latter 
exhibited at the dinner-table. 

The hour for drawing the Twelfth Night charac- 
ters, which had been most impatiently awaited by 
the younger portion of the company, at length ar- 
rived ; and it was truly amusing to see the anxiety 
and earnestness which were displayed in the coun- 
tenance of each little candidate for the regal honours 
of the evening. On each side of the cake was placed 
a gilt paper crown, surmounted with a peacock's 
feather, and destined for the heads of their infantine 
majesties. A couple of thrones were likewise pre- 
pared, with all necessary accommodations for the 



TWELFTH-DAY. 147 

prime minister and minions of the court ; and every 
thing being now in readiness, the drawing of the 
characters proceeded. 

Provoking was the issue of the trial — at least, to 
a certain little lady whose ambition was great, and 
whose brow had been already encircled by Fancy 
in a " golden diadem." — Alas ! the title of Queen 
fell upon a funny little round-about girl, the least 
in company ; sadly deficient in such ideas as might 
correspond with the peacock's feather; and too 
young, in short, to appreciate the high honour 
which it had been the pleasure of Fate to confer 
upon her. No sooner was her majesty lifted upon 
the throne than she became furiously obstreperous, 
and the prime minister, loyally anxious to main- 
tain her in her lofty state, only got a scratch in the 
face for his exertions. It was in vain her royal con- 
sort endeavoured to make her behave herself as be- 
came the partner of his throne. She still persisted 
in a line of conduct terribly at variance with every 
rule of courtly propriety, and proved herself, in 
fact, a most ungovernable governess. The king be- 
came indignant ; her majesty was impeached ; found 
guilty of abusing the dignity of her station, and 
banished to the nursery ; while the peacock's feather, 
with all honours and privileges appertaining thereto, 
l2 



148 TWELFTH-DAY. 

was transferred to the little lady I have before 
mentioned. After this, things went on with all pro- 
per observance for at least ten minutes, though the 
king, perhaps, was less peremptory than a king 
should be, and, in fact, permitted the petticoat to 
manage matters too much after her own fashion. 

It must be confessed their majesties had a most 
harassing time of it. They fully proved, during 
their short reign, the heavy cares of royalty. The 
presumption and disrespect shown to them by their 
subjects, were beyond all bearing ; and the queen 
—though a most dignified queen, who required no- 
thing more from her inferiors than courteous beha- 
viour in payment— found her favours a very unsale- 
able commodity. 'Twas to no purpose she exclaim- 
ed, " I am the queen ! — Thus should ye do — and 
thus :•- — They only did as it pleased them ; and the 
king, despairing of culling any profits from his dig- 
nity, resigned his seat, content to be less illustrious 
and more happy. Her majesty, however, still en- 
deavoured to support her falling state; but it was 
in vain. The king's abdication was the signal for 
general revolt ; the queen's appeal was unnoticed ; 
and the poor little lady, losing all value for the 
power which no one feared, and for the glory which 
no one seemed to envy, quitted her state in high 



TWELFTH-DAY. 149 

dudgeon. Half crying at the unruliness of her sub- 
jects, she declared herself a most ill-used queen, 
and suffered [Monarchy to fall before the spirit of 
Republicanism. 

Among the " children of larger growth" who 
were collected near the fire-place to witness in 
silent pleasure the frolics of the little ones, I could 
not but observe one group with peculiar interest. 
It was a party of two; male and female — both 
young — one beautiful, and the other nothing amiss. 
The youth, evidently a warm-hearted fellow, was 
standing in a careless attitude on one side of the 
fire-place, with his elbow on the mantleshelf, and 
leaning his head somewhat forward over the 
shoulder of the squire's fair daughter, who stood 
with her back towards him the whole time. His 
parted lip and sleepy eye told plainly the state of 
his feelings ; but Miss Emily, to all appearance, 
was totally heedless (if not ignorant) of the emo- 
tions which influenced him ; and seemed impene- 
trably deaf to the sugared accents which he poured 
half whispering into her ear. She never replied to 
him once ; and, in truth, considering the extreme 
fervour of his manner, I almost deemed it strange 
she could maintain her composure so firmly. Yet, 
so it was. Her attention seemed fixed upon the 



150 TWELFTH-DAY. 

children at play, and her whole anxiety appeared 
to rest upon the preservation of decorum and good 
temper amongst them. I observed, three or four 
times, that just as the youth had worded what 
appeared to be an idea of the most soul-stirring 
warmth, she would dart off to rectify some little 
misunderstanding among her young flock, and then 
carelessly resume her station, turning her back 
upon her admirer as before ; her face being slightly 
flushed — no doubt by the exertions she had just 
made in restoring order. By the way, the tint 
upon her cheeks varied considerably even when 
she remained stationary ; and her bosom's rise and 
fall would vary too. Sometimes she bit her lip ; 
but not in anger — else never anger looked so sweet ; 
nor was it done to suppress a laugh, for she 
scarcely seemed inclined to smile. In short, I shall 
not presume to dive into her mystery, nor to 
divine the meaning of an oft-repeated sigh ; but, 
with respect to the gentleman — O, it was amusing 
to see him, — his breast swelling with its fraught of 
tenderness, while high respect and reverential de- 
licacy vanquished the desire he felt to clasp her in 
his arms, and let loose the full tide of his soul. 

Rarely have I seen a more genuine flow of hap- 
piness than the young folks exhibited. The royal 



TWELFTH-DAY. 151 

pair seemed to have forgotten their former great- 
ness, and very shortly became downright boisterous 
and plebeian. The thrones were demolished, and 
the quondam monarch was to be seen scrambling 
blindfold among his subjects ; while the little lady 
(their sometime queen) had descended to the im- 
propriety of tickling her consort's nose with the 
peacock's feather ! At length the clock struck 
nine — the revelries were concluded — and the 
younger part of the community took their depar- 
ture for the night. 

" Ah ! bless their little hearts !" exclaimed the 
worthy squire, with all the warmth of a father's 
feeling ; " I love to see them happy ; and, withal, 
I can enjoy peace and quietness in their turn ; so 
now, if it please you, my friends, we will adjourn 
to the supper room, and finish the evening in a 
sober manner." Saying this, he led the way into 
an adjoining apartment, bidding us, as we valued 
his friendship, to do justice to his cousin of Can- 
terbury's brawn and the round of hung beef, espe- 
cially prepared for the present occasion. 

After supper, the punch bowl made its appear- 
ance ; and our host having given a bumper to the 
king, the worthy vicar filled another to the agri- 
cultural interest. Songs, jests, puns, and riddles, 



152 TWELFTH-DAY. 

followed in quick succession, till, at length, some 
remarks made by his reverence upon the excellent 
quality of the squire's rum, led to the mention of 
smuggling, and further suggested the following 
brief tale, which, to the best of my recollection, I 
give in the words of the narrator. 



THE SMUGGLER. 



" So shall you hear of bloody and unnatural acts ; 
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughter." 

HAMLET. 



THE SMUGGLER. 



It is now some three or four years back, since I 
took up my temporary abode at Elmouth, a small 
sea-bathing place on the Welsh coast, little known 
to the general traveller, but much admired by all 
who are acquainted with it, on account of the 
beauty of its adjacent scenery. Like Dr. Syntax, 
(of home-tourists the most redoubted,) I have ever 
been indefatigable in pursuit of " the picturesque ;" 
and it was in one of my rambles along the coast of 
Elmouth, that I became accidentally acquainted 
with the melancholy facts which I am now about 
to relate. 

Induced by the grandeur of the scenery, and the 
extreme beauty of the weather, I had one evening 



156 THE SMUGGLER. 

strolled much further than usual ; and the sun was 
just sinking below the horizon, when I unex- 
pectedly entered a small fishing town, the existence 
of which had been till now a secret to me. 

It was, in truth, a miserable place ; rarely visited 
but by such as were compelled to do so from neces- 
sity. A collection of fishermen's huts, scarcely 
serving to exclude the pelting of the storms — in 
that quarter both frequent and furious — formed 
the principal street ; and the remainder of the 
village was composed of a private madhouse ; a 
church, where duty was only occasional ; and an 
old inn, once blessed with patronage, but now ex- 
hibiting no sign of its former use and importance, 
save that which swung on rusty hinges before the 
door. There was likewise a building called the 
prison, whilom gladdened with the merry-makings 
of confined debtors, but now only echoing the 
complaints of three or four wretched, but honest 
inmates, free as the air on which they fed, and 
having too much reason to envy the state of their 
guilty predecessors. 

The madhouse being in tolerable repair, was 
decidedly the most cheerful looking edifice in the 
village, and I was only at a loss to conceive why so 
melancholy a situation should have been chosen as 



THE SMUGGLER. 157 

suitable to the purposes of the asylum. At the 
back of the building was a high wall which ap- 
peared to encircle a garden or pleasure-ground for 
the benefit of the patients, and I walked round it, 
in the hope of finding some aperture or grating, 
whence I might obtain a view of the interior. 
Unsuccessful, however, in this attempt, I turned 
to leave the spot, w T hen my steps were suddenly 
arrested by the sound of voices within the enclo- 
sure, and as the speakers drew nearer to the place 
which I occupied, I could clearly distinguish their 
words. One voice was too truly that of some 
poor female maniac, — the other, that of her 
keeper : — 

u Rest assured," said the latter, " all will be 
well. Your husband loves your brother both for 
your sake and his own ; and in due time (though 
you must summon up all your patience) he will 
discover him, wherever he may be hidden/' 

" Hidden !" exclaimed the female, " why 
should my brother hide himself ?" 

" Doubtless," answered her keeper, " to escape 
the cruelty of the pirates.'" 

" And if the pirates have him ?" 

" Your husband still shall effect his rescue." 



158 THE SMUGGLER. 

" If he do not," said the female, with that 
mirthless laugh peculiar to insanity, "if he do not 
--his blood— " 

The keeper emphatically interrupted her threat. 

" Nay," she cried, in a tone almost amounting 
to a shriek, " your blood, too — yours — " ■ 

" Silence, Madam !" exclaimed the former 
sternly ; " treat your regent with more respect, 
else, , ' ) said he, stamping his foot violently upon the 
ground, " in the king's name I shall arraign you 
on a charge of treason !" 

Suddenly she became quiet, speaking in a 
sweetly subdued tone, but in a manner so irrelative, 
that for some minutes I could scarcely divine any 
meaning. At length she desired her companion to 
play upon his flute. He did so. The air was 
cheerful and plaintive by turns. 

" O !" said she, " that it could speak — speak 
thus :"— 

Saying this, she bade her keeper's attention, and 
sung as follows : — 

6C Poor, hapless maiden, desolate and lone,-— 
Come hither — hither — sleep upon a breast 

Which never yet felt sorrow of its own, 
But which can still feel thine y and give thee rest. 



THE SMUGGLER. 15# 

" Come ! at my smile thy many griefs shall fly ; 
I'll yield thee joy, or share in thy distress ; 

I'll lull thee with the sighs of sympathy, 
And thou shalt wake again to happiness : 

" For, I'm so rich in comfort, nothing more 
Can soften waking thoughts or sweeten sleep ; 

This only now remains t'increase my store — 
The bliss of weeping oft with those who weep." 

I need scarcely comment on the peculiar quali- 
ties of insanity, which frequently endows its victims 
with a store of fancy, whence they derive a much 
greater consciousness of wealth, power, or happi- 
ness, than the mines of reality ever yield even to 
the most fortunate among the children of reason. 
But, alas, in the joys of a maniac we experience 
nothing reciprocal ; and look upon her imaginary 
happiness as upon the phosphorescent gleam of 
decay, visible only when all around is gloom — 
shining, perhaps, brilliantly, but dispensing no 
light. The reason of this poor girl had evidently 
been crushed beneath the ruin which involved 
either a husband's or a brother's fate; and the 
words of her song — so expressive of entire and 
perfect happiness — were, most probably, an ex- 
treme contradiction of all that would have been 
elicited by sanity and truth. 



160 THE SMUGGLER, 

The last words of her song fell indistinctly upon 
my ear as she retired towards the house. I waited 
a few moments to discover whether she would 
again pass by ; but all was silence, save the turret 
clock, which, sounding the hour of nine, reminded 
me that the distance of a league and a half sepa- 
rated me from my bed-chamber. Determining to 
revisit this place at another and more seasonable 
time, for the purpose of making some inquiry into 
the history of one who had so deeply interested me, 
I directed my steps homeward. It was a lovely 
night; and the moon, nearly in the full, shone 
with more than usual splendour. Every now and 
then a light cloud passed like a thin veil over her 
disk, borne rapidly on by the rising breeze, which 
had already curled the wave, and set the breakers 
in commotion. I walked forward with divided 
attention ; now gazing with admiration upon the 
noble cliffs which reared their darkened profiles 
against the deep blue sky ; and then, recurring 
with melancholy reflection to the subject of the 
poor maniac. 

I had proceeded a considerable distance, when 
I suddenly espied a man in the dress of an officer 
of the Preventive Service, who, at a more moderate 
pace than mine, was walking the same way ; and 



THE SMUGGLER. 161 

« 

being of a somewhat sociable turn (particularly 
when I take late walks in lonely situations), I 
quickened my steps, and soon came up with him. 

w Hallo !" said he, turning short round as he 
heard my steps, u friend or foe?" 

" Certainly wo foe" I replied ; " but willing to 
be your companion to El mouth, if you be going 
that way : — " 

" Which I am," said he, " and shall be happy 
in your society." 

" Pray, how far may we be," I inquired, " from 
the place of our destination ?" 

" Why," said he, pointing towards the summit 
of the cliff, " that gibbet is the half-way mark 

betwixt Elmouth and ■ :" (the extremes 

of my ramble.) 

I looked up, and perceived the gibbet to which 
my companion had pointed. It bore the skeleton of 
a man, which swung to and fro in the wind, and 
creaked loudly with every motion. On passing 
the spot previously, this frightful warning of jus- 
tice had escaped my observation ; but it now 
appeared doubly conspicuous, suspended as it was 
in dark relief against the light of the moon. 

" Ah," said my companion, " that's been the 
way with Dick Darwell for many a year, during a 

M 



16£ THE SMUGGLER. 

seafaring life of daring and danger. For fifteen 
years he acknowledged no ruler but the winds, and 
since his death (now nearly half that time) he has 
been keeping up the game upon the gibbet." 

" And what is his history ?" 

" I will inform you briefly," replied the nar- 
rator, who thus proceeded : — " It is pretty gene- 
rally known, I believe, that old Darwell — the 
father of yon hanging carcase — was an old brute, 
whose temper was such as to render home the least 
desirable place in the world to his children, con- 
sisting of a boy and girl. The latter was fortu- 
nate enough to escape his tyranny in some measure, 
by an early marriage with a Captain Hardy — one 
of my craft — an officer in the preventive service, 
commanding the Dragon cutter : but poor Dick 
remained to suffer under a double share of wanton 
austerity, while his sister, who loved him dearly, 
feared even to commiserate, much more to defend 
him. Dick, however, was not unable to fight his 
own battles ; on the contrary, he partook of his 
father's violence, though he never evinced it except 
in retaliation. He saw people on all sides ready to 
defend him ; but was loth to embroil any one in 
his disputes, and, perhaps, knew too well the im- 
pregnability of his father's heart, which would 



THE SMUGGLER. 163 

rather acquire rancour from being opposed, than 
permit the intrusions of humanity. Many and 
violent had been their quarrels : at length the son, 
unable any longer either to bear his father's impe- 
tuosity or to curb his own, ran away ; and old 
Darwell, when it was too late, became more inclined 
to think and feel as a parent should have done. 

" The loss and uncertain fate of her brother, 
greatly embittered the days of Mrs. Hardy, who 
had otherwise lived happily in the society of her 
husband. Yet, even here, she had much to agitate 
her. The occasional dangers to which Captain 
Hardy was subject in the fulfilment of his duties, 
excited her constant apprehension ; while his fre- 
quent absence from home contributed to her un- 
easiness. Many were the sighs which followed 
her brother's self-banishment, and neither the sight 
nor mention of her father was calculated to enliven 
her reflections. Had death been the separator, 
time might have restored to the affectionate sister 
her comfort and peace of mind ; but it was doubt 
which worried her: and the melancholy probability 
of her brother having committed suicide would 
occasionally force itself upon her thoughts, and 
make her doubly miserable. 

" Captain Hardy had only just recovered from a 
u2 



164 THE SMUGGLER. 

severe wound received in the chase of a smuggler, 
when secret information was given him concerning 
the re-appearance of the same vessel within two 
leagues of his station. Foiled in his previous 
attempt, though with no loss of honour, he deter- 
mined this time on more efficacious exertion ; and, 
tearing himself away from the arms of his discon- 
solate wife (who now, more than ever, despaired of 
seeing him return in safety), he once again took the 
command of his service-tried cutter. 

" It was night when they put off, and blowing 
stiffly from the shore, so that they had much ado 
to keep within the bearing of a headland, which, as 
they were led to understand, covered the position 
of the smuggler. They were not mistaken in their 
course; but, on doubling the promontory, the 
object of their search was no where visible. Ap- 
prised of their situation, the smugglers had taken 
advantage of the wind and put out to sea. 

" Disappointed, but yet not hopeless of success, 
Hardy, striking a random course, continued the 
pursuit; and at break of day, to his great joy, 
came in sight of the enemy. At noon he arrived 
within shot, and received immediate proof of the 
smuggler's intention to risk an engagement. Every 
thing, indeed^ had been favourable for necessary 



THE SMUGGLER. 165 

preparation on the part of the latter, and a well- 
directed ball from her stern chaser brought down a 
sailor from the rigging of the Dragon. Hardy- 
had the courage of a lion, but not, perhaps, the 
coolness fitting a commander ; and, bearing onward 
beneath a heavy fire, he soon came alongside the 
smuggler — fixed the grappling iron with his own 
hand — and was the first to board her. The cap- 
tains met hand to hand ; but, after a short conflict, 
were separated in the confusion of the fray. 
Hardy's sword, however, fell with mortal force 
upon two of his antagonists, and in the course of 
ten minutes the smuggler's deck was in the pos- 
session of our officers ! Among the vanquished dead 
which lay around, the chief smuggler and several of 
his crew were not to be discovered ; and the conquerors 
had scarcely time to range the deck, when a shot 
from the Dragon struck Hardy, and the fight was 
renewed on board his own vessel. The contest, 
however, was too unequal to be of long duration, 
and the lawless captain, after a furious resistance, 
was secured a prisoner. Seeing the impossibility 
of making any stand on board his own ship, he 
had taken advantage of the smoke and confusion, 
leaped into a boat at her unengaged side, and, 
together with three of his desperate comrades, had 



166 THE SMUGGLER. 

moved round to the stern of the Dragon, and 
ascended her deck unobserved. 

"Hardy fell to rise no more ; but, ere he breathed 
his last, the exulting shout of victory blessed his 
ears, and he now only desired to part from life 
upon the deck of the Dragon. Having invoked 
the aid of Heaven in behalf of his beloved wife, he 
would have gazed upon the captive author of her 
widowhood, but death prevented it ; and he closed 
his eyes for ever, unknowing that he had been 
instrumental to the seizure of one, whom, only a 
few years back, he had deeply loved, and whose 
memory he had ever fondly cherished. I need 
scarcely add that he had fallen by the hand of his 
brother-in-law — the self-abandoned Darwell ! 

"Mrs. Hardy was among the first who saw the 
victorious Dragon towing its prize into port. But 
what, alas ! was victory to her ? and where was she 
to find consolation for the loss with which it had 
been purchased ? Death would most likely have 
relieved her from a prolongation of her misery, if 
the last sad horror which awaited her had not been 
sufficient to deprive her of reason. — The sight of 
her husband's murderer effected this: but she is 
now ignorant that the gibbetted bones of a British 
smuggler are those of her once loved brother ! You 



THE SMUGGLER. 167 

have seen the one sad object : — if you enter the 
private madhouse at , you may behold the 

other r 



Thus ended my companion's melancholy narra- 
tive. I revisited the village of , a few weeks 

afterwards ; but the unfortunate maniac had died 
during the interim. 

" The only cheerful part of the story/' said the 
rector. 

" Well," said one of the company (an old gentle- 
man with a somewhat waggish expression of counten- 
ance, and who, by the way, seemed scarcely suscept- 
ible of melancholy), — " well," said he, " as Shaks- 
peare has it, there be land-rats and water-rats ; 
water-thieves andland-thieves ; pirates and poachers. 
Now, if you have a mind to hear a story of the lat- 
ter, I have one which may serve as a fellow to the 
woeful narrative we have just heard." 

" Nay," exclaimed the rector, " in the names of 
Mirth and Mistletoe, let us not have any more me- 
lancholy stories." 

" Why," said the other, " although it has some- 
thing to do with gun-shot and death, it is certainly 
not quite so replete with misery as the history of 



168 THE SMUGGLER. 

the Smuggler— for instance, though deficient neither 
in blood nor terror, it has nothing to do with mad- 
ness." 

u Pish !" said the rector, " let us have some- 
thing to laugh at." 

The squire's fair daughter, however, seemed de- 
sirous of hearing it ; and the rector putting an extra 
portion of brandy in his punch to support himself 
through this promised tale of terror, requested the 
narrator to begin. 



THE POACHER. 



. How is't, Laertes ? 



Laertes. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe. 

HAMLET. 



THE POACHER. 



Harry Guerdon was a man who despised all 
beaten tracks and common-place precedents. He 
held the followers of custom as little better than 
slaves; declaring that all the insipidities of life 
arose from no other cause than the curbing our 
free wills ; and that our spirit — if it prompt us to 
fear God and honour the king — has a right to inde- 
pendence in all else beside. Guerdon, in short, 
striking down all the petty presumptions of fashion, 
was resolved to have a way of his own in all 
things ; and his obstinacy, as may be supposed, 
got him into innumerable difficulties. The 
disasters, however, which befel him on one occasion 
(and which form the subject of my tale), were 



172 THE POACHER. 

more serious than ordinary ; and his waywardness, 
in this instance, received a hint which remained 
deeply impressed on his memory to the end of his 
days. 

He had been recently married to a very amiable 
girl, when he took up his abode at a small village, 
distant about fourteen miles from the county town. 
The clergyman of the place called upon him, and 
Guerdon shortly after received an invitation to dine 
at the parsonage-house. He was, however, pre-en- 
gaged, having, in fact, resolved upon a journey to the 
assizes ; and his original determination was not to be 
shaken. 

The morning of his departure was wet and 
foggy : " but no matter," said he, spreading a large 
county-map upon the table, " I shall not suffer a few 
drops of rain to damp the ardour of my love for 
justice : so bring me my strong walking shoes and 
leathern gaiters, and I'll make a short cut through 
the forest, which, as the map informs me, will 
reduce a journey of fourteen miles to a pleasant 
walk of about eight." He then examined the 
chart to see how he stood affected by rivers, bogs, 
and other impediments ; took what he conceived 
to be every necessary observation relative to the 
points of departure and destination, and was now 



THE POACHER. 173 

prepared to set off upon his journey, proudly inde- 
pendent of post-roads and finger-posts. 

" You had better stay where you are/' said his 
young wife, " and accompany us this evening to 
the parsonage — particularly, too, as it is the first 
invitation. Do, Henry, give up this visit to the 



assizes 



i" 



And what motive, you will ask, could induce a 
man to oppose the wishes of a fond wife, and start 
off from his comfortable fire-side on a raw Novem- 
ber morning, with the prospect of an eight mile 
walk through an almost impenetrable wood ? 

Thus it was : — Guerdon was a loyal subject and 
a great sportsman ; equally remarkable for his 
addiction to game, and his veneration for the game- 
laws ; and his chief motive at present for setting 
at defiance the season's inclemency, was the desire 
of attending as witness against a renowned poacher, 
who having, with his gang, for some time back 
rendered the expense of shooting-licences a dead 
loss (or nearly so) to the more legitimate sports- 
men of the county, was at length caught in a man- 
trap, and brought up to justice. 

" But/' said his amiable partner, " there will 
be ample evidence against him without yours—you 
had better remain. " 



174 THE POACHER. 

Nothing would do : not even the assurance that 
in his absence she could derive no pleasure from 
her intended visit, as it was impossible for her to 
enjoy any thing in which he would not participate. 

I have already alluded to Guerdon's intention 
of traversing the forest. It is fit you should be 
acquainted with his motive for so doing. That it 
would be a saving to him both of distance and 
time, was certainly the ostensible reason, but, at 
the same time, a mere evasion, and he was rather 
prompted to challenge the intricacies of the wood, 
by having heard some one declare that " no man 
in his proper senses would think of doing so." 

" Are you aware," said his friend, " that this 
forest is said to be haunted ?" — 

Harry Guerdon laughed in his face. 

" You are running into danger," said the 
other. 

" That's my affair," said Guerdon. 

" I would on no account attempt it myself." 

u That's your business," replied the undaunted 
Harry, " and so good-morrow to you." 

Having entered the precincts of the haunted 
forest, he proceeded onward in a right line, confi- 
dent in the veracity of a pocket compass, which 
ever and anon he carefully consulted, and no way 



THE POACHER. 175 

disheartened by the gloom which thickened around 
him. He soon discovered, however, that he had 
made light of a somewhat serious matter ; and it 
was pride, rather than policy, which urged him to 
prosecute a task so replete with difficulty. As he 
advanced, his steps became more and more im- 
peded by impenetrable thickets and fearful cavities. 
Lofty mounds and miry swamps alternately tried 
his patience ; and he scarcely knew whether most 
to regard the romance or the comfortlessness of his 
situation. Unquestionably, all pleasure now rested 
in anticipation. He looked forward to the enjoy- 
ment of the reputation which his dare-devil spirit 
was now acquiring for him, and relished the idea 
of laughing at the timid and superstitious. But 
his feelings varied with his course, and he had 
much ado to keep them at a proper height. Some- 
times they would sink so low as to stand in need of 
that powerful stimulus which miserable devils 
derive from the contemplation of what has been 
endured by devils more miserable ; and Guerdon 
was occasionally obliged to resort to a comparison 
of his own situation with that of a Cook, or Park. 
He found some comfort in reflecting upon Polar 
regions and African deserts. The Black-hole at 
Calcutta proved an absolute cordial to him. 



176 THE POACHER. 

" 'Gad/' said he, " how those poor wretches must 
have suffered ;" and he followed up this reviving 
idea with a verse of " Away with melancholy F 1 
though it must be confessed, in a tone better calcu- 
lated to express " Hence, vain, deluding joys."" 
Still he pressed forward, notwithstanding he began 
to doubt the ultimate success of his exertions. His 
course became more irregular and perplexing. The 
trees, as he advanced, increased in number and 
height ; and their thickly entwined tops, excluding 
the little light which was afforded by a clouded 
sun, rendered all below dark, damp, and dreary. 
In groping his way through an obscure hollow, he 
slipped down in the mud, soiled himself from head 
to foot, and tore his thumb in a briar-bush. This 
tried his metal, but it bore the proof ; and extri- 
cating himself as well as he could from his miry 
bed, he took out his handkerchief, and with the 
most philosophical calmness, bound up the wound. 

He had not proceeded many steps forward, when 
he became sorely puzzled on the subject of the car- 
dinal points; and you may readily imagine his 
confusion, when, on searching for his compass, he 
found it not ! It had evidently fallen from his 
pocket during his late flounder in the mud. 

Here was a dilemma ! which way to turn, he 



THE POACHER. 177 

knew not ! He made several fruitless circumam- 
bulations in search of his lost monitor, but each 
step that he took only served to bewilder him the 
more. He looked around and around — walked to- 
and-fro — mused upon his misery, but could de- 
vise no plan of extrication. He wandered about 
for hours, cursing his obstinacy, and hoping that a 
due acknowledgment of his folly, and an earnest 
resolution to be more tractable in future, might 
recommend him to the merciful guidance of some 
unseen spirit ; for certainly he despaired of escap- 
ing his present difficulties without the assistance of 
supernatural agency. To wish for a place at the 
parsonage fire-side had been unreasonable — he 
might, with more propriety, have envied the situa- 
tion of the incarcerated poacher. Evening was 
closing fast upon him, and his energies grew fainter 
with the decrease of light. Truly, his case was 
wretched ! Which way could he direct his steps, 
when the chances of doing wrong were one hun- 
dred and seventy-nine to one ? 

As he stood rapt in unprofitable thought, he was 
suddenly startled by a loud rustling among the 
leaves. " Good heavens V 9 exclaimed the affrighted 
man, and would have invoked the protection of his 
invisible guardians, when the report of a gun 



178 THE POACHER. 

roused all the forest-echoes™ and he fell to the 
ground smeared with blood ! 



How long he lay in the damp chilly embrace of his 
mother earth he knew not; but, on the return of 
his senses, he soon discovered that his nose was 
buried a full inch in the mud. Convinced, at 
length, that he was a living man, he ventured to 
look up, nor did he raise his eyes without the fear 
of encountering some forest bogle, or black hunts- 
man — perchance a poacher ghost ! — The sight, 
however, which offered itself was nothing so ter- 
rible. There was a man sitting upon the trunk of 
a felled tree, whistling cheerily as he hammered a 
gun-flint. The dog, which crouched panting at his 
feet, on seeing Guerdon, startled his master with 
a bark. — "Who goes there?" exclaimed the 
forester, levelling his fowling-piece at Guerdon. 

" One," answered the latter, " who will make that 
setter the poorer of a brace, in consideration of his 

being instructed in the way to , " (naming the 

county town). 

" A right liberal offer," said the other. — " Who 
are you ? From whence ? and where bound ? No 
poacher y I trust ?" 



THE POACHER. 179 

"Poacher!" replied Guerdon; "no: on the 
contrary, a mortal enemy to all such marauders. 
I am now on my way to the assizes, to appear 
against one of them, and, as I hope, to aid in bring- 
ing about his conviction ." 

"Aye; indeed!" replied the forester — "pray, 
who may this fellow be?" 

" No other/' answered Guerdon, " but Hal 
Marsport, who was taken the other day poaching 
on the grounds of the Lord Lieutenant, and is to 
be brought to trial to-morrow.** 

"Ah ! — a d d rascal, that Marsport," said 

the forester, as he calmly proceeded to rectify his 
gun-lock ; — " and so, Sir, you are on the way to 
, are you ? Aye, you're right — you've evi- 
dence enough, I warrant you, to convict the villain. 
I did think of being in court myself; but have 
business of importance elsewhere ; and, though 

my stay in is much solicited, I may say 

commanded, on account of the very important 
part I might have to play in this affair, I have 
still been obliged to refuse my presence. However, 
you will do the work, I warrant you, and make up 
my deficiency." 

" But," said Guerdon, " you return to , 

to-night ?" 

k2 



180 THE POACHER. 

" O, aye," replied the forester, " to-night I will 
be your companion and guide :" and so they pro- 
ceeded. 

Guerdon was most anxious to account for his 
late fainting fit. Never before had he yielded the 
contest to fear, though he confessed his heroism had 
never undergone so severe a trial. The forester 
acknowledged having fired his gun, and Guerdon, 
who remembered hearing the report, had like- 
wise a faint recollection of having received a violent 
blow on the face, to the which he imputed the 
temporary suspension of his senses. A man in his 
situation, with a predisposition to alarm, harassed 
in mind, and fatigued in body, would be naturally 
susceptible of the least impression ; and the dread 
aroused by the firing of the gun, being multiplied 
by the immediately subsequent blow which he re- 
ceived on the face, it was no wonder he should lose 
all self-possession. 7 Twas a strange coincidence, 
at least ; but neither he nor his companion could 
solve the mystery. 

As the night came on, a fog arose, so dense, that 
the forester was occasionally perplexed as to 
whether or no they were pursuing the proper path. 
Striking a light, he took from his bag a small horn 
lanthorn, and fixing it by an ingenious contrivance 



THE POACHER. 18] 

on the dog's head, he ordered the creature to pre- 
cede us, which he did, and, as it appeared, was 
more perfect in his geographical knowledge than 
his master. 

After much walking they reached the outskirts 
of the forest, and the sound of a distant cascade 
fell upon their ears. — " What!" exclaimed Guer- 
don, " waterfalls on this side of the forest like- 
wise?" 

" Have you, then, such things in your neigh- 
bourhood ?" asked his companion. 

" Yes," said the former, " but, are you a stran- 
ger to that part of the county ?" 

" Not a perfect stranger" said the forester, 
" but still imperfectly acquainted with it." 

u I shall be most happy to introduce you to its 
beauties, when you may at any time feel inclined 
to favour me with a visit ; and, in the earnest hope 
that you will do so, I present to you my card of 
address." 

" I am obliged to you," said his companion, 
stopping short, and shaking Guerdon by the hand, 
" but I must wish you farewell for the present ; 
my way is over the bridge — yours, if you walk 
about one hundred yards a-head, will be plain to 
you." 



182 THE POACHER. 

" But," said Guerdon, " where is the nearest 
inn to be found ?" 

" The first house you come to," replied the 
other, " will afford you the accommodation you 
desire. — Good night !" 

" Farewell," said Guerdon; "you will bear in 
mind the invitation I have given you ?" 

ff Certainly," replied the forester, "and you shall 
shortly know more of me. --Adieu i" 

Guerdon had not proceeded many paces, when he 
perceived a distant light gleaming through the 
fog, and his comfort was much revived at the sight, 
for he was in a truly miserable condition, sorely 
perplexed with bruises and scratches — wet to the 
skin, and fatigued past further bearing. Yet, 
miserable as he felt> he knew not the extent of his 
seeming wretchedness ; for the darkness and the 
fog, while they had prevented him from making 
any observations upon the person of his companion, 
had likewise kept him in perfect ignorance of his 
own disfigurement ; so that, when the door of the 
inn (as he supposed it) was opened to him, he stood 
as much surprised at the amazement of the house- 
maid, as she did at the very extraordinary appear- 
ance which he exhibited. Her exclamation of asto- 
nishment brought into" the hall one of herfellow-ser- 



THE POACHER. 183 

vants, who,being a lady's maid, necessarily possessed 
a finer sensibility, and, as might be expected, on 
seeing Guerdon, she uttered a shriek of horror and 
fell into a fainting fit ! The house-maid, though 
not absolutely deprived of her senses, lost her 
fortitude, and dropping the candle in her fright, 
ran screaming for help through the house. 

u Who's there ?" exclaimed some gentleman, as 
he opened a parlour door P and thrust his head into 
the dark hall. 

" Nay, I know not," said the supposed appari- 
tion. — " I was once a simple man, by name Harry 
Guerdon ; but, whether I am now he or his ghost, 
the Lord above knows ! This, however, I will 
assure you — mortal or monster — I am equally 
harmless : methinks I am still Harry Guerdon ; but 
if I am a devil, I am a most unfortunate one. Pri- 
thee, let me have a chamber in thine inn, with bed 
and board till the morrow, nor doubt either my 
will or ability to pay my reckoning ere I go." 

" You are mistaken, fellow," said the gentleman, 
" this is no inn." 

" Then," replied Guerdon, " my forest guide 
has deceived me." 

" Mercy on us !" exclaimed a female (as though 
she recognized the tone of the mysterious speaker), 



J 84 THE POACHER. 

and the next moment a young woman entered 
the hall, just as the assembled household had made 
their appearance, with lights, pokers, and rusty 
horse-pistols. 

Guerdon confronted them all, stiffened with the 
surprise occasioned by this most extraordinary 
scene, and beginning to imagine that he had only 
escaped the demon of the forest to fall into the 
clutches of the devils of the castle. His appear- 
ance was, in truth, well calculated to astonish any 
one; but the blood with which his face was 
smeared, and the great splashes of mud which 
disfigured his clothing, still failed to conceal the 
identity of his person from one who. knew his 
voice so well ; and poor Mrs. Guerdon, when she 
cast her eyes upon what she took to be the mur- 
dered body of her husband, followed the example 
of the lady's-maid, and fell, with a shriek, to the 
floor! 

" Why, Mr. Guerdon," said one of the com- 
pany (having eyed him attentively for some mo- 
ments), " is it possible?" 

" Possible ?" replied Guerdon, as he began to re- 
cognize the person of the clergyman, to whose din- 
ner-table he had been that day invited ; " possible ! 
Egad, I shall think nothing ^possible after this ! 



THE POACHER. 185 

Pray, how comes it that I find my wife and your 
reverence here ? — and there's Jack Holstein ! and 
Miss Everett ! and my friend Burney ! and — and 
— what the devil brings you all here ?" 

" Are you mad ?" inquired the parson. 

" Explain yourself, my dear Henry," said his 
affrighted wife, as she gradually recovered. 
" Have you been attacked by highwaymen, and 
are you dangerously wounded ?" 

Guerdon knew almost every face before him ; 
but, on looking round the room, could claim no 
previous acquaintance either with its form or furni- 
ture — in short, how should he ? never having been 
before in the Parsonage-house ! 

It was now evident to all parties that some grand 
hoax had been performing ; and Harry, being clear 
of enchantment, took a lanthorn and stepped home 
for the purpose of putting himself a little in 
order. 

In due time he reappeared, bearing a letter in 
one hand, and a brace of birds in the other; and then 
relating so much of his adventure as you are al- 
ready acquainted with, he concluded by perusing 
the letter just alluded to. It was as follows : 



186 the poacher. 

" My dear Sir, 

" Lest the circumstance of your not being enabled 
to fulfil your intentions concerning the poacher, &c. 
should occasion you too much regret, let me afford 
you some comfort by the assurance that the present 
safety of your life is owing to the forbearance of 
him whose punishment you meditated — to my 
forbearance. 

"My crimes are many — that is to say, my profes- 
sional practice has been great. I owe the laws a 
heavy reckoning, and send you a brace of birds, 
the last fruits of my evil doings. One of them I 
killed only a few minutes before I met with you in 
the wood; and I rather think the blood upon your 
face is no other than the blood of that same bird, 
which struck you in its fall, and made your senses 
for a time play the truant. No matter how I 
know this, or why I concealed from you the infor- 
mation of it till now. That, instead of blowing 
your brains out, I practised the cheat upon you, 
which the fog and darkness aided, is evidence of 
my not being quite the villain you supposed me. 
I escaped from my prison yesterday morning, and 
am now on my way to no matter. 

" Roast your birds, and fill a bumper to 

« The Poacher." 



THE POACHER. 187 



" Bravo !" exclaimed the rector, " a very satis- 
factory conclusion ; yet I cannot help thinking that 
my young lady there 1 ' (pointing to the fair Emily) 
" would prefer a story more pregnant with love." 

" Indeed, Sir," replied she, blushing deeply at 
the same time, " I do not think that either of the 
preceding narratives have been deficient in that 
subject. In both cases we have had an affectionate 

wife as the heroine, and " 

" Yes," said her young admirer, interrupting 
her— " yes ; and, in my opinion, though the latter 
was not doomed by fate to suffer such extremity as 
was endured by the heroine of the former tale, she 
had still sufficient cause for complaint in her hus- 
band's indifference; for, certainly, he evinced but 
little affection in preferring the persecution of a 
poacher to the society of a wife." 

This remark again brought blushes into the 
cheek of the squire's susceptible daughter; and it 
was clear the amorous youngster had made a pal- 
pable hit. The squire himself looked as though he 
had no objection to allow a continuance of " the 
soft intercourse," and the rector rubbed his hands, 
as if in joyful anticipation of tying the connubial 
knot. 



188 THE POACHER. 

" Come, Sir/' said the narrator of the last story, 
addressing himself to me, " I cannot but think 
you have something in store for us. Allow me, 
then, to call upon you for a contribution towards 
the entertainment of the evening." 

In compliance with his request, I drew forth the 
manuscript of the odd gentleman, and read to the 
company the following story. 



THE WIG. 



She looked back with remorse and self-upbraiding at her past 
caprices ; she turned with distaste from the adulation of her ad- 
mirers, and had no longer any relish for amusement. 

ANNETTE DELABRE. 



THE WIG. 



" But, why does he wear a wig?" asked my 
cousin, as we parted, after a few moments' confer- 
ence, from my friend O'Connor, having met him by 
accident in the streets of Paris — " why does he 
wear a wig ?" 

'Twas an odd question ; nor could I, at the time, 
answer it. — Joy and surprise, at thus unexpectedly 
meeting with an old acquaintance, whom I had sup- 
posed dead or irrecoverably lost, did not permit me 
to examine whether his head dress was false, or 
genuine. — u I'm sure it was a wig, v said my 
cousin : my cousin was right : it was a wig — and 
this is the history of it. 

James O'Connor (as his name may import) was 



192 THE WIG. 

an Irishman, of the Roman Catholic persuasion, 
residing in a small town no great distance from 
Dublin, where he practised as surgeon and apothe- 
cary. His abilities being great, and his address 
gentlemanly, he soon obtained the confidence and 
patronage of numerous patients, much to the dis- 
comfiture of one Dr. Down, whose professional 
celebrity had been on the wane ever since the ap- 
pearance of his younger rival. 

In the course of his professional duties, it was 
O'Connor's fortune to be called to the bedside of 
a young English lady, who lay very dangerously 
ill in the house of a relation, where she had been 
for some time staying on a visit. Doubtless, the 
doctor felt some satisfaction in every opportunity 
of exercising his medical talents. On the other 
hand, he felt much pain in the contemplation of 
suffering beauty. But, again — he experienced con- 
siderable pleasure in discovering that his fair pa- 
tient was one, whose absence from the promenade he 
had remarked during the last few days, and — what 
is more— had felt as a deprivation. He had seen 
her before; had marked her loveliness; had de- 
sired her acquaintance ; but had been hitherto un- 
able to obtain an introduction. Thrice happy was 
he, therefore, in the present chance! But there 



THE WIG. 193 

was evil in it, notwithstanding. He was over anxi- 
ous about the matter ; apprehensive, and nervous 
to a degree, which even disturbed his self-confi- 
dence. 

In the course of a few weeks (be it imputable to 
fate or physic) his lovely patient was amazingly 
altered for the better ; and the doctor was never 
more pleased with success, nor more unwilling to 
take a fee, than in the present instance. His calls 
were protracted far beyond the time which ordi- 
nary civility required ; and it was not till her 
cheeks had resumed their wonted hue ; her eyes 
their usual lustre ; that he suspended his profes- 
sional visits. At length, however, she again made 
her appearance in public. Once more she became 
the charm of the drawing-room — the belle of the 
promenade. 

But, alas ! be it known, Laura Kirkup was no 
less remarkable for inflicting wounds than James 
O'Connor was for healing them ; and the poor doc- 
tor, in his turn, was placed upon the sick list. Laura's 
weapons, however, in their execution, committed 
a mischief which neither medicine nor surgical skill 
could remedy. The doctor's malady was deep- 
seated in the heart. It evinced itself in frequent 
sighing and abstraction. He ceased to scold at 



194 THE WIG. 

whist, and trumped his partner's tricks: passed 
people in the street without noticing them, and re- 
primanded the shop-boy for not doing what he had 
been forbidden to do. In short, there was a very- 
lamentable bewilderment in his general manner. 
His patients began to complain of his inattention ; 
and, sad to relate ! it was, in. one instance, disco- 
vered that he had sent a wrong medicine. 

Alas, for O'Connor ! — It was a poor return, 
me thinks, for all his time, trouble, and solicitude, 
to ruin his peace of mind and discompose his pro- 
fessional abilities. People wondered what it could 
mean ; and no one, of course, was more surprised 
at the circumstance than Miss Laura. — " It was 
such a pity," she said, " that a young man, just 
rising into fame and fortune, should alarm his pa- 
tients by such an aberration of mind. It was really 
a pity ; and she wondered what could be the cause 
of it !*' — She appeared, in fact, quite concerned 
about the doctor's confusion ; and Connor, hearing 
of her solicitude, was, as may be readily supposed, 
easily prompted to gratify the curiosity she had ex- 
pressed upon the subject. 

He therefore went to the toilette, and did his ut- 
most to insure some degree of favour, — at least in 
the eyes of his mistress : nor could he, in this respect, 



THE WIG. 195 

fail to be successful; for nature had given him a 
fine manly figure, and his address was at once free 
and prepossessing. Thus armed cap-a-pie in the 
mail of love's witchery, he called upon the Jady ; 
unbosomed his secret ; offered his hand — heart- 
fortune — and finished in the true romantic style, 
by a declaration of becoming her favoured slave for 
life, or else departing his country for ever. 

She felt flattered by his good opinion, but was 
somewhat embarrassed by the suddenness of his 
proposals; and thought, moreover, that their ac- 
quaintance (ungrateful girl !) had as yet been too 
brief to allow the formation of a just opinion con- 
cerning the suitableness of their dispositions. And, 
then, papa was to be consulted — that was one block 
in their way : and, further, Mr. O'Connor was a 
Catholic — that was another obstacle ; with u buts" 
and " ands v ad infinitum. 

The doctor left the house somewhat discouraged, 
but not in despair ; for it was evident her objec- 
tions were rather grounded on matters of form and 
opinion, than upon any thing repulsive in his per- 
son or manners ; and though he remained, as yet, 
unable to look even into the probable issue of his 
suit, he was by no means unsupported by hope. 
Some little encouragement was indeed necessary to 

o 2 



196 THE WIG. 

counterbalance the evil intelligence which awaited 
him at home ; viz. that a certain great lady, who 
had for some time patronised O'Connor, unable to 
obtain his immediate attendance, on account of his 
being elsewhere occupied, was necessitated, owing 
to the extreme urgency of her case, to apply to his 
rival, Dr. Down ; and under the skilful hands of 
the latter gentleman, she had been safely delivered 
of a son and heir ! 

In the course of a few weeks the time of Miss 
Laura's visit had expired, and the native stars of 
the village began secretly to congratulate them- 
selves on the approaching disappearance of the Bri- 
tish luminary whose effulgence had for too long 
a period eclipsed their own. In the mean time, 
Connor's exertions to ingratiate himself in the de- 
sired quarter had not been fruitless ; and the fair 
lady left him with looks of kind regret, and a mo- 
dest, half-hinted intimation, that an occasional cor- 
respondence would be indulged. She was not go- 
ing directly home to her father's in London ; as she 
intended passing a week or fortnight with a friend 
at Shrewsbury; and it was settled that O'Connor 
should direct his first letter to the said town. But 
the enamoured doctor had no sooner penned the 
epistle, than he felt an ungovernable desire to usurp 



THE WIG. 197 

its right of travel ; — " Shrewsbury !" he exclaimed, 
" why, 'tis a mere step — The steam-boat will bear 
me off to Holyhead in the course of a few hours ; 
and a few hours more will conduct me to the pre- 
sence of my angel." 

He went over accordingly, and was received by 
the lady in the most flattering manner. She ex- 
pressed herself much surprised at the strange en- 
thusiasm of his conduct, but was evidently pleased 
by it. And, indeed, how could she be otherwise ? 
— There was a something earnest and chivalrous 
about it. Hitherto, no one had evinced half 
the interest exhibited by O'Connor ; and, till now, 
she had never seen a man so deserving of her fa- 
vours. — The doctor, in short, had every reason to 
believe that his wishes were accomplished ; and, 
happy in the idea of a no very distant union with 
the angelic fair one, he returned to Dublin. 

Miss Kirkup's sojourn in the country was pro- 
longed much beyond her original intention, and 
the letters she wrote to her admirer during this 
interval, were all that he could wish. The first 
epistle, however, which he received from her, bear- 
ing the London post-mark, was in an altered tone ; 
the next, still less kind ; the third, brief, evasive, 
and cold. Her explanations were equivocal and 



198 THE WIG. 

unsatisfactory ; and poor O'Connor had too much 
reason to fear that he had been premature in his 
self-congratulations of success. He immediately 
posted off to England, under a heavy load of con- 
tending emotions, determined to satisfy himself 
whether his wretchedness was the issue of her 
own fickle disposition, or the consequence of some 
treachery on the part of a rival. 

A few days only after his departure, as farmer 
O'Drogherty was whistling through his potatoe- 
field, he espied our poor crest-fallen doctor trudg- 
ing along the turnpike road on horseback. The 
animal, as luck would have it, possessed an unusual 
share of sagacity, and seemed to be well acquainted 
with all the windings and intricacies of the road 

from Dublin to ; otherwise, the doctor's brain 

had been of no benefit. — Scorched by the fire of 
disappointment, it had fallen a hot cinder upon his 
heart, and there it lay, like the light on Bardolph's 
nose, " burning, burning P But, however, 'tis too 
bad to joke upon the sufferings of poor O'Connor, 
who looked for all the world like a culprit on his 
way to be hanged. O'Drogherty advanced, and 
with more hilarity, perhaps, than was consistent 
with the occasion, exclaimed : — 



THE WIG. 199 

" By J — s, and Tm mighty glad to see you 
back again : — how is it with ye ?" 

" Jilted r exclaimed the other, but said no 
more ; and, indeed, there was little else to say. On 
waiting upon his charmer, in London, she gave 
him an account of her conduct and motives, which 
might have been intelligible, but that her sobs dis- 
turbed the clearness of her delivery. It was pretty 
evident, however, that inconsistency and evasion 
were substituted for truth, and that her story was, 
in short, a genuine u cock and bull,'' — leaving 
some traces whence the rejected lover might infer, 
that the difference in their religion had materially 
caused the alteration in her sentiments. 

The real fact was this : — She had seen another 
man, exceeding even O'Connor in zealous protesta- 
tion — overreaching him, as he had outdone others. 
Her present lover was higher by two inches, and 
richer by two thousand a year, than the former ; 
and the wayward beauty, for once, listened to the 
opinion of her father — for it coincided with her 
own. 

Alas, for our poor Hibernian Romeo ! It was 
now all over with him — u nor poppy, nor mandra- 
gora, nor all the drowsy syrups of the east," could 
aught avail him now. Quite— quite chap-fallen, 



200 THE WIG. 

his energies failed to aid him, and his bosom 
yearned at the loss of its tenant — a tenant which, 
ere now, had maintained within it a more unlimited 
sway than had ever been wielded even by testy 
housekeeper in the mansion of a superannuated old 
bachelor. His manhood sank within him for want 
of thought ; his lancets grew rusty for want of 
use ; his professional character fell to the ground, 
and the name of Down belied his rivals' rising 
reputation. Sad reverse ! Jilted by a mistress — 
superseded by a professional opponent ! Dr. Down 
obtained all the practice ; O'Connor, all the pity ; 
while Laura, whose mischievous beauty had 
wrought these extravagant vicissitudes, flirted 
through Kensington Gardens on the arm of the 
Colonel. 

O'Connor was a man of the most acute sensi- 
bility ; and when his feelings were acted upon by 
any violent cause, no matter what, they led him a 
rough jaunt of it. He had met with scoundrels 
before now, and he had called them by their right 
name with impunity ; he had been sometimes 
insulted, but never twice by the same person ; he 
had thrashed two or three blackguards, and chal- 
lenged as many gentlemen ; his manners bespoke 
peace and goodwill, but it was pretty well known 



THE WIG. 201 

that his passions were not to be trifled with. The 
kindness of a friend was never thrown away upon 
him, for he was warm in all his attachments, and 
earnest in gratitude ; and, for the same reason, he 
was never forgetful of an injury, nor behind hand 
in avenging it — till now. 

Yes, — this was the one injury, which, failing to 
rouse all violent resentment, only sank him into 
the profoundest depths of melancholy. He wan- 
dered about, scarcely knowing where, and caring 
less, till his friends began to ruminate with feelings 
of dread upon that seductive remedy for oblivion 
which is so frequently found in fish-ponds and 
canals ! Dr. Down, forgetting all former animosi- 
ties, (his professional supremacy being now firmly 
established,) became on a sudden, marvellously 
solicitous about the distracted state of O'Connor's 
mind ; and surely due credit must be awarded to 
his conduct, as that of " a friend in need. 1 " 

So many were the concomitant evils attendant 
on poor O'Connor's principal grief, that an alarm- 
ing state of despondency ensued, and all the efforts 
of his neighbours to awaken within him a due 
sense of his dignity as a good Catholic and man of 
sense, completely failed. His mother and sister, 
with whom he lived, witnessed his wretchedness 



202 THE WIG. 

with tears. They became apprehensive that insa- 
nity would shortly be the consequence of his 
malady — that a premature (perhaps violent) death 
awaited him ; and they even ventured to give him 
a timely hint concerning the sin of self-destruction, 
and the sorrow such an act would cause in the 
hearts of his affectionate surviving relatives. " Fear 
not," said he ; " I am, indeed, the most wretched 
of men ; but am not yet so destitute of religious 
feeling as to dare the vengeance of Heaven. I 
know myself to be sufficiently culpable in giving 
way so much as I have done to the tyranny of 
grief; but, 'tis impossible, at least, while I re- 
main in this country — in this village — to regain 
my fortitude. All other afflictions I could have 
borne with pious — with manly resignation ; but 
this — this," he exclaimed, bursting into tears, " is 
the only woe I cannot — can not support. My 
honour or my fame might have been traduced; 
I could have avenged it : — my house and fortune 
might have been lost to me ; I could have re- 
gained them : — but, my heart — my heart" he em- 
phatically exclaimed ; and was unable to finish the 
sentence, for his utterance was choked. 

One evening he spoke of being troubled with a 
slight head-ache, and, as it appeared in con- 



THE WIG. 203 

quence, went to bed much earlier than usual. On 
the following morning, breakfast had awaited him 
an hour beyond the accustomed time of his coming 
down stairs. His sister, fearing that his head-ache 
might be increased, went to inquire how he felt 
himself; but, on knocking at his room door, re- 
ceived no answer. She knocked again and again 
— still no reply. At length, alarmed at this un- 
accountable silence, she entered her brother's 
room — but found him not ! Her apprehensions at 
the moment of opening the chamber door had 
been of so fearful a kind, that the note she found 
on the dressing table, afflicting as its import must 
necessarily be under any circumstances, gave her 
in the present instance some degree of comfort. 
It contained her unfortunate brother's farewell ; 
with a brief statement of his having, at length, 
determined on taking the only path which could 
possibly lead to an abode of peace, and enable him 
to bear a life so embittered by the gall of wretch- 
edness. He had just set off under the resolution 
of eternal self-banishment from his country ! 

Heavy, indeed, was this intelligence ; but still 
he lived; and though he had at present given 
no intimation concerning that part of the globe 
which he might have fixed upon as the spot of his 



204 THE WIG. 

seclusion, his mother was supported in the hope 
that by his letters she would eventually be informed 
of it. 

He never wrote, however : and this was strange ! 
But, perhaps, he had his reasons for withholding 
the correspondence; imagining that long silence 
might induce the supposition of his death ; and 
that it were better his mother should mourn 
awhile his entire loss, than for ever lament his 
protracted banishment. This was poor logic, it 
is most true ; but O'Connor's philosophy was too 
much impaired to secure a propriety of action — 
'twas enough he attempted it ; and it is easy to 
imagine that his heart (affected as it was) might 
urge him to the adoption of measures no way con- 
cordant with the maxims of reason. Mrs. O'Con- 
nor suffered far more from the contention of hope 
and fear, than she could have experienced in the 
removal of her doubts, however melancholy might 
have been the intelligence which led to the decision. 
She loved her son ardently, both for his own sake, 
and in respect to his being the exact counterpart of 
her deceased and lamented husband. 

To return to Laura. — She was not without heart; 
but, till now, its warmth had been never roused. 
She had mistaken the mere gratification experi- 



THE WIG. 205 

enced in being-admired, for feelings of affection to- 
wards her admirer ; — a common error, I believe, 
and the groundwork of half the unhappiness which 
forms the alloy of matrimony. She had received 
the empty adulations of fifty flatterers ; while O'Con- 
nor, perhaps, was the only one who really loved her. 
In Ms attentions, flattery had been a mere spice : 
in the attention of others it formed the chief ingre- 
dient : they had persevered in their attack upon her 
weakest point, and the colonel, we are to presume, 
was the foremost in extravagance. But in the ad- 
dresses of O'Connor, there was probably all the 
timidity of a loving but mistrustful heart ; all the 
care of a man anxious to please ; and the delicate 
backwardness of one, in whose love respect forms 
a conspicuous share. But, alas ! what the honour- 
able and manly solicitations of O'Connor had failed 
to secure, his silly desperation, at once, fully ac- 
complished ; and poor Laura, awakened from her 
long dream of vanity, found herself sorely afflicted 
by the pains of remorse. It was bitter enough to 
contemplate the folly and cruelty which had marked 
her past conduct, setting aside the evil conse- 
quences of it ; but, when she reflected upon the 
sincerity she had abused, and the worth she had 
insulted, she began to envy even the victim of her 



206 THE WIG. 

infidelity. As a full proof of her earnestness and 
contrition, she immediately cut short the colonel's 
chase ; and the gallant son of Mars, having lost his 
game — far from losing his senses likewise — bore the 
disappointment like a true man, and started another 
hare. Laura was by no means piqued to see the 
coolness with which the colonel treated the matter : 
it only served as additional evidence in proof of 
O'Connor's superiority. 

Her nature had been perverted. She was an 
only — and therefore — a spoiled child : not spoiled, 
however, past recovery ; although she unquestion- 
ably would have been, had she been deficient in 
that strength of mind and natural goodness of heart 
which the folly of her parents could only hide — not 
destroy. The mother was vain ; but blessed with 
that kind of sparkling frivolity in conversation, 
manner, and opinion, which a dull husband takes 
for wit ; and the child of their love, between the 
folly of the one, and the stupidity of the other, 
stood a fair chance of remaining a mere cypher in 
the circle of society. But the better part of her 
nature was now called into action. Her heart was 
opened : her tenderness evinced itself in tears ; 
and she felt convinced, that if O'Connor had really 
reached her affections, when, in fact, he had only 



THE WIG. 207 

roused her vanity, she should have loved him all 
along, as truly and faithfully as she could do now, 
were it the will of fate that they should meet 
again. 

What would she not now have given for a recur- 
rence of past opportunity ? Sometimes she would 
indulge in the idea of seeing him again, and specu- 
late on the sweets of reconciliation. She corre- 
sponded with her ci-devant proposed mother-in-law, 
and was indeed willing to visit her ; but she could 
never make up her mind to accept the old lady's 
invitation, so averse was she to tread the scene of 
her former treachery ; and she fancied that her 
presence would be fraught with associations rather 
tending to increase than assuage the sorrows of 
Mrs. Connor and her daughter. 

It was long ere she resigned all hopes of seeing 
her lover again. At length, however, she yielded 
to the general belief that he was gone for ever, and 
from the extreme depression of her spirits in con- 
sequence, it was feared she might follow his ex- 
ample. 

Three long years passed away, and with them 
much of Laura's bloom. Deep sorrow had evi- 
dently taken hold upon her heart ; and, though 
her general health did not seem to be materially 



208 THE WIG. 

impaired, she was no longer distinguished by that 
buoyancy of manner and laughter-loving expression, 
which formerly rendered her conspicuous among 
her sex. She appeared to avoid company as much 
as possible ; showed herself careless to the atten- 
tions of men, and indifferent to rivalry. Her con- 
versation would usually turn upon music, literature, 
and the fine arts : any thing, in short, rather than 
the bandying of compliments ; and the very tone of 
her voice betokened the alteration in her feelings. 
Her step in the dance was graceful as ever ; her 
voice in the song, as sweet ; but where she before 
seemed to claim admiration, she now only appeared 
to solicit indulgence. 

Some vague reports were at length heard, leav- 
ing it to be inferred that O'Connor was no more. 
The effect of this intelligence upon the mind of 
Laura was even more violent than on Mrs. O'Con- 
nor and her daughter ; and old Kirkup, alarmed 
at her increasing despondency, and fatigued by so 
long a continuation of melancholy, for which he 
had an utter abhorrence, determined on diverting 
her thoughts by the charms and novelty of travel. 
In pursuance of this resolve, he forthwith bought 
an old posting carriage, and having learnt the Ita- 
lian for beef steaks, boots, and a few other leading 



THE WIG. 209 

matters, transported his wife and daughter to the 
continent, and, after a glance at the gaieties of 
Paris, moved onward into Italy. 

The good taste of Laura enabled her fully to appre- 
ciate the classic beauties of this charming country; 
and her health and spirits were shortly very visibly 
improved by the change of scene and climate. After 
visiting the principal cities, Mr. Kirkup determined 
on taking up his abode at Florence, with the inten- 
tion of remaining there for some months ; nor had 
he been long settled in his new quarters, ere No. 
3375, Piazza, S.M. Novella, became a marked spot 
as the residence of " the beautiful English girl," 
— la helV Inglese, as she was termed, par excel- 
lence* 

Four years had elapsed since Laura received the 
first intelligence of O'Connors exile, and little 
doubt now remained upon the subject of his death. 
Though his repentant mistress had begun slowly to 
recover her health of mind and body, she was still 
given to occasional dejection, and might be said 
rather to enjoy tranquillity than happiness. The loss 
of her lover was, perhaps, more easily to be borne 
than the recollection of her conduct ; and any chance 
allusion to certain times or circumstances, would 
invariably disturb her. However, altogether, she had 

p 



210 THE WIG. 

certainly altered for the better, and old Kirkup was 
happy to find the chief purport of his continental 
visit so satisfactorily answered. Neither did he 
object to the attentions bestowed upon his daughter 
by an Italian gentleman of good family and for- 
tune — a marquis, withal : in respect to his title, 
most agreeable to Laura's mother : in regard to 
his religion, more fortunate than poor O'Connor had 
been ; but, with respect to his suit, as finding favour 
in the eyes of his foreign mistress, somewhat in 
doubt ; for Laura, though she less deplored her 
old lover, could never forget him ; and, however 
sensible she might be of the high merits of // Sig- 
nor Marchese, she only treated him with such kind- 
ness as ordinary friendship might warrant, care- 
fully avoiding every appearance of encouraging his 
pretensions. 

The marquis, however, was obstinately bent on 
completing his alliance with one whom he termed 
" the most charming of England's daughters 5" 
nor was the deep seated affection, with which she 
cherished the memory of her former admirer, at all 
calculated to damp the ardour of his own attach- 
ment : on the contrary, it inflamed it ; and he was 
only the more anxious to possess, at least, some 
share in that constancy and affection, which had 



THE WIG. 211 

been for so long a time uselessly expended upon 
the dead. He thought it a pity she should waste 
her sympathies on the grave ; and was resolved on 
inducing her to the more rational purpose of be- 
stowing them where they would be so ardently met 
and duly appreciated. 

He proceeded in his design with the utmost 
care, and — I might add — cunning ; undermining 
the citadel, and secretly possessing himself of all 
the unguarded outposts of friendship, esteem, and 
reliance, ere he ventured to throw out " the flag 
and sign of love." The delicacy with which he 
alluded to the memory and cause of his deceased 
rival, was no way prejudicial to his own interests. 
Besides, the marquis, in some points of his con- 
duct, resembled him whose fate she had so much 
reason to lament ; and she was, at least, determined, 
if she could not love, to treat no worthy man with 
cruelty, particularly if he bore any resemblance to 
the faithful Hibernian. Like O'Connor, the mar- 
quis was gentle, though fervent ; never guilty of 
unmeaning compliment ; well informed; handsome 
— (but that was nothing)— in short, he had many 
qualifications, highly recommendatory, and she 
could not but acknowledge them. 

'Twas, therefore, now time to drop all stratagem, 
p 2 



212 THE WIG. 

A breach being made, the marquis followed it up 
immediately by a formal declaration of his passion ; 
and received a check. The refusal was, however, 
qualified with assurances of her esteem for his 
many virtues ; her admiration of his acquirements ; 
her gratitude for the great delicacy he had evinced 
throughout the whole course of their acquaintance, 
which, she hoped, would not be discontinued alto- 
gether ; and, in conclusion, some slight intimations 
were held out, that if it had not been for certain 
circumstances, connected with a former engage- 
ment, the marquis,' s flattering kindness might have^ 
met with an adequate return. 

The marquis, on his part, admired the firmness 
of the lady; but thought, of course, that a relaxa- 
tion of her present determination would be, in no de- 
gree, indicative of any weakness ; for she had amply 
paid the debt of early severity, and to mourn longer 
in single barrenness was to cheat nature of her due, 
and to offend (though the offence was certainly 
most pardonable) even virtue. 

Mr. Kirkup talked the matter over with his 
daughter : but, if his persuasions had any weight, 
it was certainly more attributable to a sense of filial 
duty on the part of Miss Kirkup, than to any 
strength of reasoning on his. Her mother got 



THE WIG. 213 

violent upon the subject ; but Laura was not to be 
frightened into marriage ; and the silent eloquence 
of the marquis did more towards the subversion of 
her resolves, than any thing which her parents could 
say. After a time, he ventured again to address 
her upon the tender subject. She hesitated ; and, 
after a pause, without either blush or emotion, can- 
didly put to him the following question : — 

"Can I, Signor Marquis, feel justified in giving 
away my handy while my heart remains divided ?"" 

u Certainly — if your admirer, like myself, is 
content to be blessed on such terms."' 

" But, surely, you are not so. v 

" Assuredly I am" replied the marquis. 

" The better part of my heart," said Laura, as 
the tears started into her eyes, " is in the grave 
with James O'Connor f" 

;< 0, v exclaimed he, " give me but so much of 
your heart as may be unentombed, and I shall be 
content." 

" I will think upon it,* said she. 

She kept him in suspense for some time, and, at 
length, yielded. In a month she agreed to become 
his wife. 

One of the oddest whims that ever entered the 
head of woman now took possession of her brain ; 



214 THE WIG. 

nor could all the persuasions of her parents serve 
in any way to avert her determination of becoming 
a Roman Catholic. Her proposed husband de- 
sired it not ; and she had certainly too much good 
sense to be captivated by the mere " pomp and 
circumstance' 9 of the papal worship. Be it from 
whatever cause, her resolution was fixed ; and her 
parents, to say truth, were now rather careless about 
the matter. Failing in the first instance to dis- 
suade, they ultimately suspended their attempts ; 
and it was at length decided, that, on a certain 
day, the ceremonies of her conversion and marriage 
should be performed together in the church of 
S. M. Novella. 

Overjoyed as the marquis was at possessing the 
right of constant attendance upon his fair one, he 
still found the month of courtship drag slowly on. 
Laura was less impatient ; indeed, her behaviour 
exhibited no ardour — she appeared contented, but 
nothing more. 

The marquis was well known in Tuscany, his 
title recommending him to the higher circles of the 
dukedom ; and his frequent appearance in public, 
together with the splendour of his equipage, ren- 
dering him conspicuous in the eyes of the vulgar. 
His unostentatious benevolence had likewise con- 



THE WIG. 215 

tributed much to his favour among the poorer 
Florentines: his weekly soirees formed a never- 
failing inducement to the fashionable : while a well 
furnished museum and picture gallery, ever open 
to general inspection, secured him a due share of 
popularity among all classes. Whenever he formed 
one among the gay throng who frequented the 
evening ride in the Cascina, he was marked as a 
constellation of the first magnitude ; and the Con- 
tadine would exclaim, as he whirled rapidly by in his 
carriage, " Ecco, il buono Marchese 'f* He was, in 
fact, the marquis. As an object of general inte- 
rest, he almost disputed the precedency with the 
grand duke himself; and the latter, it was ob- 
served, always returned the marquis's respectful 
salutation with peculiar courtesy. 

Thus much for the marquis We have already 
seen, on the other part, that Laura had attracted 
general notice ; and certainly her appearance was 
such, that whatever notice she did attract, could 
not be otherwise than favourable. She was, per- 
haps, at this time, even more to be dreaded by the 
susceptible, than during her glittering reign some 
years before. Coquetry and flirtation in a woman, 
when carried to a certain extent, have their effect 
upon some men ; but it is a mode of warfare far 



216 THE WIG. 

less calculated to insure a decided victory, than 
that more genuine effeminacy, which is abashed by 
boldness and shrinks from display; which claims 
nothing as a right ; evinces no disposition to patro- 
nize; but, on the contrary, tacitly acknowledges 
dependence, and seems to solicit support. Yet, 
men have their vanities; and to enjoy the empty 
favours even of a woman who has no real affection 
to bestow, is among them. They hold such pre- 
ference as they wear a smart coat ; and the grati- 
fication rests less in the true value of the thing, 
than in the observation which it may attract. 

Laura's looks were altered with her manners. 
The beauty which had charmed before, charmed 
still ; but, as in the case of Astarte, " 'twas tem- 
pered all, and soften'd into mildness." If her 
charms were less sparkling, they were more insi- 
nuating. The women could not feel jealous of 
such unostentatious dominion, while the men were 
obliged to acknowledge its supremacy. She had 
but one rival in Florence, and that a child of 
Praxiteles — the Venus de Medici. 

Both parties, therefore, having a hold upon the 
public notice, it may be readily supposed that the 
intelligence of their probable union would prove a 
matter of considerable interest ; and, no sooner 



THE. WIG. 217 

was it known in one quarter, than it spread about 
the place like a conflagration. Still our heroine's 
intended conversion was a circumstance more 
deeply touching the minds of the Italians, than 
her marriage with their noble compatriot ; and the 
day appointed for the joint ceremony was looked 
forward to as a kind of fete, or holiday, and anti- 
cipated with impatience. 

On the eventful morning, much to the dismay of 
poor Laura, crowds of people were seen collecting 
in the Piazza. Many had even put on their best 
dresses for the occasion. The Contadine were 
there in all their festive finery ; their gold earrings, 
crosses, and buckles, with their black beaver hats 
bearing a mighty plume of ostrich feathers. Car- 
riage after carriage drew up to the door of the 
church, each bearing a family of fair Florentines, 
with their nurse bedizened in all the splendours of 
white lace and yellow ribbons. Spectators, in 
short, of all degrees, were huddled together in 
anxious expectancy ; and among the motley throng 
was many a fat friar and smooth-browed priest, 
chuckling with a kind of triumph at the idea of 
what was forthcoming. The fact of a Protestant 
— and an English woman too, — embracing the 



218 THE WIG. 

Roman faith, was deemed a full warrant for the 
suspension of all ordinary labour. 

All was now in readiness : — certain qualms dis- 
turbed the mind of poor Laura ; and she became 
so nervous and agitated, that it was more than 
doubtful whether or not she would be able to go 
through the ceremonies. On her ascending the 
carriage, a general buzz pervaded the square, and 
as the crowd opened to let her pass, the old women 
exclaimed, in the most sugared tone possible, — 
"Bellinar—"Dio la benedica!"—" Che beOezzaP 
&c<, &c. 

Of course, the ceremony of conversion was to 
precede that of marriage ; but considerable diffi- 
culty arose on the subject of certain explanations 
necessarily required, concerning the difference of 
the faiths. The priest desired the most precise 
information as to our sacraments and creed. He 
wished to have a verbal translation of the belief, 
and certain parts of our catechism ; but the mar- 
quis understood little of English ; Mr. Kirkup less 
of Italian ; while Laura and her mother were so 
bewildered, that they could neither of them be of 
any service in the way of elucidation. 

" Send for brother James," said one of the monks 
of the Franciscan monastery adjoining, and a mes- 



THE WIG. 219 

senger was despatched accordingly. When brother 
James made his appearance, he was summoned into 
the presence of the officiating priest, the marquis, 
and Mr. Kirk up ; and they remained closeted 
together for some time. At length, the interroga- 
tory was brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and 
all things being made clear, the ceremony pro- 
ceeded. It was long and tiresome; the day re- 
markably hot, and smelling-bottles were as plenti- 
ful as Ave Marias. Laura was near fainting once 
or twice ; however, with the utmost difficulty she 
managed to sustain herself to the end, and then 
sank exhausted into her mother's arms. At this 
moment father James stepped forward to offer his 
assistance : — 

It was not the first time Laura had benefitted 
by it! 

The eyes of Father James and Miss Kirkup 
encountered at the same instant, — the former main- 
tained his self-possession, but the lady went into 
violent hystericks, and people wondered what was 
the matter ! 

It was evidently impossible that the ceremony 
could be concluded that day ; and though a sad 
disappointment to the marquis, he was obliged to 
put up with it. She became very ill ; kept her bed 



220 THE WIG. 

all the next day; but, during the two following 
days, appeared to be gradually recovering. " I 
promise you firmly," said she to her anxiously 
inquiring lover, " I will be married before a week 
is passed." 

On the morning of the fourth day, there were 
two marvellous hubbubs going on in Florence; the 
one, at No. 3375, Piazza, S. M. Novella, where a 
distracted lover was vainly seeking a lost mistress : 
the other, at the convent opposite, where the Fran- 
ciscans were all in a stir at the sudden disappear- 
ance of one of their brotherhood ! 

I shall not trouble the reader with a relation of 
the means by which the friar deceived the police, 
and carried off the lady. Love is pregnant with 
stratagem when difficulties intervene, and Dr. 
O'Connor (Father James no longer) soon recon- 
ciled the fears of his beloved Laura and the 
scruples of his conscience. The difference in their 
religions was no longer a bar to their union ; and 
the melancholy monk, throwing off his sorrows 
with his cowl, has returned to love and life, and is 
the happiest of the sons of Erin. The fugitives 
were on their way to England when I met them at 
Paris. Long mortification had worn O'Connor to 
the bones; but Laura's love, aided by a few 



THE WIG. 221 

months' recreation amid the scenes of his earlier 
life, have set him up completely, and a handsomer 
couple than the doctor and his wife is not to be 
found in Ballimakin. 

Now r , you will please to observe that friars 
have always the crown of the head completely 
bare ; it was, of course, necessary that O'Connor 
should conceal his baldness, to prevent suspicion 
during his escape from Italy — and that was his 
reason for wearing a wig. 



The story of the Wig being concluded, some 
discussion arose upon its merits and tendency. Miss 
Emily was much pleased with it, and returned the 
gentle compliment, which, it may be remembered, 
was conveyed in the remark made by her lover, at 
the close of the former narrative. She was " charm- 
ed with the forgiving disposition of the hero ; but 
could scarcely pardon the caprice and infidelity of 
the heroine, notwithstanding her extreme remorse 
and ultimate behaviour. n 

The rector decidedly objected to one point in the 
story, affirming that the " ultimate" conduct of the 
heroine had been rather spirited than praiseworthy. 



222 THE WIG. 

" The circumstance of her conversion," said he, 
" though it heightens the interest of the story, de- 
cidedly impairs its moral tendency : and I sincerely 
wish that Cupid and Fate could have brought 
about the denouement, without dressing their chief 
actors in the tinsel of Catholicism." 

The company then rose to take their departure 
for the night; but the worthy squire, anxious to 
pacify the startled conscience of the rector (whom 
he knew, with all his prejudices, to be a well mean- 
ing man), begged that each would once more reple- 
nish his glass to— 

" The Protestant Ascendancy IV 



TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 



Peace ! thou talk'st of nothing. 

Romeo. 



TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 



Having business still farther up the country, I 
was prepared to bid a final adieu to my worthy 
host, when he insisted on my revisiting his mansion 
in my way back to town. After the usual hesita- 
tions, becoming a man of modesty, I answered as 
inclination prompted, and assured him that ere long 
I would again partake of his hospitality. 

On getting into the coach I was somewhat sur- 
prised to find myself in the company of young Al- 
fred — none other than the love-sick Romeo of the 
preceding evening. The pleasure was not the less 
because unexpected, and I congratulated myself 
upon being so fortunate in my companion ; for, be- 
side ourselves, there was no inside passenger. 

Q 



226 TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 

It soon appeared, however, that I had been 
overhasty in estimating the conversational inclina- 
tions of my fellow-traveller, whose internal resources 
were evidently such as to render him completely 
independent of all ordinary companionship. His 
first salutation was more than usually courteous ; 
but, after a few passing remarks, he became gradu- 
ally silent, thoughtful, and abstracted. With his 
arms folded, he reclined within the angle of the 
coach, and his eyes became fixed as his thoughts. 
Every now and then a peculiar smile, and still more 
frequently a sigh, would seem to indicate that his 
heart rather than brain was concerned in the sub- 
ject of his meditations ; nor would it have been dif- 
ficult for any one, who, like myself, had witnessed 
his behaviour on the preceding night, to judge of 
what was passing in his mind. Concluding that 
my reader has attentively perused the statement of 
what then occurred, I deem it unnecessary to ex- 
plain why my very pensive companion started from 
his reverie at hearing a poor cottager suddenly ex- 
claim — " Emily, you little d — 1, come out of the 
snow !" 

Whether the mere pronunciation of the lady's 
name, or the connexion of so angelic a sound with 
another so diabolical, was the cause of the deep 



TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 227 

sigh which immediately followed, I know not. He 
became more thoughtful than ever ; and in the 
fervour of his heart whispered a blessing on his lady- 
love, not in so subdued a tone, but that I could 
distinctly hear him. 

There is certainly something in the motion of a 
coach peculiarly conducive to the workings of 
thought ; and in proportion that a man is by na- 
ture imaginative, he is usually silent as a stage tra- 
veller. It is true, the English vary considerably in 
this particular, and may be divided into the talka- 
tive, the somniferous, and the meditative travellers. 

The somniferous, though, in point of fact, he can 
scarcely rank above the luggage which accompanies 
him, is a much more welcome companion to the me- 
ditative traveller than the talkative gentleman ; not 
that the snores of the one are in themselves less 
disturbing than the prattle of the other, but that 
they require no answer ; while a talkative compa- 
nion is seldom reasonable enough not to expect a 
reply to his arguments, although he may conceive 
them unanswerable. — Could he but be satisfied with 
silent acquiescence, all were well ; but it is seldom 
he can hear a remark without a wish to provoke 
discussion. 

Female travellers, I believe, are rarely disin- 
q2 



228 TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 

clined to be communicative ; and, generally speak- 
ing, they may exercise their volubility without 
taxing our patience. If they be amiable, much 
licence will be allowed them: if pretty, they may 
monopolize without offence. In fact, a woman of 
beauty, and a man of wit, may converse at large ; 
for it is our sensibility rather than our sense, which 
is acted upon in both cases. 

But, under whatever circumstances, a lover must 
be allowed the full privilege of silence when travel- 
ling by the coach. A woman's beauty, if it remind 
him not of his Thyrza — a man's wit, if it hinge not 
on the ecstacies of love, can have no interest for him. 
Conscious, that, while he is on his journey, no 
active steps can be taken towards that worldly 
advancement which may be necessary to the acquire- 
ment of his object, he feels the greater licence to 
indulge in the luxuries of imagination. The exer- 
tions of the horses, for the time, supersede his own, 
and the coachman becomes the temporary director 
of his fate. Thus emancipated from all considera- 
tion of the means of attainment, he revels in con- 
templation of the object attained ; and the scenes of 
happiness he pictures on his mind, are as varied in 
their colouring, and as rapid in their change, as 
the landscape through which he passes. 



TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 229 

Thus, pursuing my own reflections, my grave 
companion suffered little from interruption. He 
would occasionally make some trifling remark as a 
tribute to civility ; but I, at length, relieved his 
anxieties, in this particular, by feigning to doze. 

We had not proceeded very far upon our jour- 
ney, when the coach stopped to take in a new pas- 
senger. He was a country gentleman, residing in 
the neighbourhood ; and, as it very shortly appeared 
in his discourse (though he evinced no signs of 
intimacy with my companion), was not unacquaint- 
ed with Mr. Wheatley. He spoke of the worthy 
squire in the highest terms — u A better man," said 
he, w there is not living ; and he has a family also 
who are likely to do him credit " 

The apprehensive lover turned his head towards 
the window. 

u His wife, Sir," continued the former, "is 
always doing some good in the neighbourhood; 

and, as to his eldest daughter Miss Miss 

zounds ! my memory is one of the worst in the 
world w 

(Few situations, apart from danger, are more 
agitating than that of a lover, under the circum- 



230 THE LOVER. 

stances which now environed Master Alfred. All 
who have experienced an earnest and an early 
attachment, must have been frequently subject to 
similar perplexity. Yet, why should it be thus ? 
By what strange perversion of nature is it, that we 
should fear the casual mention of a name, which is 
in itself the very essence of harmony ? Nothing is 
so sweet — yet nothing so subversive of fortitude ; 
and, while all other themes are devoid of interest, 
this alone is encountered with dread. 

Mark the stricken youth at a dinner table. The 
room resounds with conviviality : compliment and 
courtesy fill up the intervals. The huntsman tells 
of five barred gates, and fearful precipices — the 
traveller of the bandit's resort, or Alpine pass : the 
politician is vociferous in decrying the measures of 
the cabinet ; while the theatrical man is louder 
than all in the support of his favourite tragedian. 

But the lover hears not— sees not. rt His eyes are 
with his heart, and that is far away"— there, 
where some Emily roams amid nature's beauties, 
like the moon among the stars. 

Lo, the table resounds beneath the knuckle of 
the toast-master ; and with a cheek reddening 
under the consciousness that his feelings are either 



THE LOVER. 231 

known, or will be discovered, he fills with trembling 
hand his glass to — " her we love best." 

The inexpressible she is perhaps by accident 
personally alluded to. How his heart palpitates. 
Her playing is admired : his cheek is again suffused, 
while his love and pride swell under the eulogium 
bestowed upon her temper. Her person is the 
next subject of panegyric. Ah ! that touches him 
too nearly. Doubtless, it is most delightful to find 
that the object of his love is appreciated by others: 
but, can they appreciate without envy? and can 
they envy without wishing to supplant ? He would 
have her admired, but not courted; and he fears 
the rival merits of others, for he is modest, and 
mistrusts his own. 

Such fears and jealousies, however, may in some 
measure be accounted for : but how shall we ac- 
count for a man's hesitating to call that his own, 
in the possession of which his happiness is vested. 
Concealment scarcely seems politic : wherefore 
should we be ashamed to reveal ? Why affect to 
disown a passion that does honour to the heart ? 
or seek to hide, as among its weaknesses, the most 
divine — certainly the most amiable passion of our 
nature ? Does the thirst of renown actuate us, or 
the desire of wealth incite ? We boldly proclaim it 



232 TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 

by our words, or evince it by our zeal. We boast 
the fruits of o'er- wrought ambition, and glory in 
acts of blood. We occasionally affect a little mo- 
desty in the performance of charitable deeds, and 
more frequently pretend to diffidence on the subject 
of our own merits : but, our love alone we hesitate 
to acknowledge. In the servitude of Fame or 
Ambition we exhibit our fetters with all the non- 
chalance of a galley slave ; but, only detect upon 
us the silken chains of Cupid ; and, like Master 
Alfred, while our companion was endeavouring to 
recal to his memory the name of Emily, we blush 
for very shame.) 

u Miss Emily," said I. 

" Aye," continued our companion, " such is the 
name of the sweetest girl in the county." 

Master Alfred had now both heard and travelled 
enough. The coach drew up to his father's door, 
and wishing us a brief u good morrow," he hastily 
withdrew. 

I found my new companion a most agree- 
able man ; he was perfectly ignorant that he 
had been seated by the admirer of Miss Wheatley; 
but not unacquainted with the existence of some 
attachment. 



TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 238 

u The young man," said he, " is 1 believe 
clever and well principled, but of a very sensitive 
disposition ; and, as I am told, equally capable of 
loving with truth, and of being jealous without 
foundation." 

In the course of our journey we passed a sub- 
stantial looking residence on the road side. On 
inquiring as to its possessor, my fellow-traveller 
said that it belonged to a Mr. Halworth. " Do 
you know any thing of him ?" said he. 

" Nothing;" I replied. 

" He scarcely knew himself some years back," 
continued my informant. 

After a short pause, he proceeded as follows. 



HENRY HALWORTH. 



Is it come to this, i' faith ? Hath not the world one man, but he 

will wear his cap with suspicion ? Shall I never see a bachelor of 

three score again ? 

Much ado about Nothing. 



HENRY HALWORTH. 



" I'll be a bachelor for the remainder of my 
life," said Harry, as he sat at his wine one after- 
noon : " yes, as Benedick says, / will die a 
bachelor" 

" And I, ,? said his sister Kate, " (to use the 
language of Beatrice) am of your humour for that 
— I will die a maid." 

" Well," said their mother, " (to quote from 
the same author) — as time shall try: in time the 
savage bull doth bear the yoke? 

The old lady, however, disapproving all rash 
resolutions, hoped in time to see them both well 
mated. " As your vows," said she, " were put 
up iii the language of Benedick and Beatrice, I 



238 HENRY HALWORTH. 

trust they were also formed in the same spirit; 
that like Benedick and Beatrice, you may be 
hereafter justified in breaking them."" 

Harry is a fine open-hearted fellow, with the 
frame of a Hercules, and the spirit of an eagle. 
Though brought up chiefly amid scenes of rural 
activity, and accustomed from his youth to the 
hazards of the chase, his education has been by no 
means neglected, and he is equally an adept in 
solving the difficulties of Euclid, and mastering 
the fury of a young horse. He does not exactly 
possess that capability for small talk which renders 
a man agreeable as a drawing-room companion; 
but his society is still extremely enviable, and his 
friendship such as every one must be proud to 
possess. His chief employment now consists in 
farming an estate left him by his father ; this, and 
the sports of the field, form his outdoor occupa- 
tions ; otherwise, he is a domestic character, fond 
of his family, his books, and his fireside. 

He has, it is true, a few peculiarities of opinion 
which lead him occasionally into violent argu- 
ments ; for, whether in the right or the wrong, he 
is always in earnest. Liberal in his politics, he 
entertains a few notions that smack of illiberality ; 
and I am ready to allow that he is too much given 



HENKY HALWORTH. 239 

to visit the errors of individuals upon entire bodies. 
This is, perhaps, a common fault with all men of 
enthusiasm, who are for the most part incapable of 
sifting their opinions, and utter what their feelings 
dictate, rather than what their judgment approves. 
They establish notions without consideration, and 
censure upon impulse. Thus it is with my friend 
Halworth. Having met w r ith a few cases of delin- 
quency among the members of the church and 
army, he regards the entire establishments with 
suspicion. He thinks the clergy are getting lazy, 
and the soldiery impudent ; and I have heard him 
declare, that were he a married man with a family 
of pretty daughters, he should be careful how he 
introduced either a young churchman or warrior 
into his house. — Acknowledging the importance of 
both their vocations, he thinks their irregularities 
meet with too great a licence, and is equally severe 
when he discovers hypocrisy in a black coat, or 
debauchery in a red one. 

He has likewise a special contempt for " pretty 
fellows" (as they are termed,) and their petty 
gallantries ; " being," as he used to say, " fully 
assured, that universal benevolence is inconsistent 
with matters of heart between the unmarried of 
the sexes, — that such affection, if not concentrated, 



240 HENRY HAL WORTH. 

is nothing worth ; and that he who is attentive to 
all women cares for none? He had no objection 
to the conversation of a sensible woman, and would 
be always happy to take a ramble with any lady 
who might feel inclined to honour him with her 
company ; " but," said he, " if ever you see me 
c bandying compliments' with a giggling girl, who 
expects me to feed her vanity with flattery, and to 
pocket her pert repartees with patience — c write 
me down an ass/ w 

Harry, in fact, at one time avoided female 
society in general ; not that he was intimidated by 
the presence, or insensible to the charms of the 
fair, but that he felt his own merits somewhat 
scandalized by the countenance which he had seen 
given to the unmeaning compliments of men, whose 
conversation he should have considered as a positive 
insult to the understanding of any woman ; and I 
observed that he always withdrew under a proper 
sense of his own inadequacy, whenever a gentle- 
man appeared in the room with mustachios and kid 
gloves. He would, with all his heart, do any thing 
really serviceable to the ladies, — would put him- 
self to any inconvenience (nor think it so) for the 
purpose of holding an umbrella over them when it 
rained, or of seeing them home on a dark night. 



HENRY HALWORTH. 241 

He was willing (as he was able,) to protect them 
in a crowd, or carry them two at a time (for the 
sake of propriety) across a marsh or miry road ; 
but he was too proud to enlist as a competitor for 
those favours which he conceived were more easily 
to be won by flattery than by candour and truth. 

He was, however, mistaken in this particular. 
He underrated both the discrimination of the ladies 
and the hold which he possessed upon their esti- 
mation. The married women were as partial to 
him as they well could be, consistently with that 
duty which they owed their lords ; and several 
were the maidens who would have been willing to 
shew their sense of his sterling qualities, if he had 
afforded them an opportunity. They knew how to 
appreciate the worth of manliness better than he 
imagined; and I hope, that, ere this, he has dis- 
covered such to be the case. 

He lived with his mother and sister, and loved 
them from his very heart. I remember, on the 
first evening of ray being in company with them, 
they were conversing upon the subject of marriage, 
and he was earnestly enjoining his sister, if ever she 
should think of becoming a wife, to choose " a 
husband of God's making," and not some " popin- 
jay, who lives but in his form and fair habiliments. * 

R 



242 HENRY HALW0RTH. 

— " Do not," said he, " mix the blood of the Hal- 
worths with that of the first lapdog that crosses the 
threshold. — Do not let go my grasp till you have 
met with some one who can love you as well? — 

" But, Harry ," said the mother, " you must be 
aware that a woman can scarcely form a correct 
judgment of her husband till it is too late to remedy 
any evils that may be the consequence of her mar- 
riage. — 

" Why,° said Harry, in reply, " something must 
depend upon herself. She must, of course, meet 
her husband half way in all his whims and weak- 
nesses — far be it from me to defend her indiscri- 
minately." 

" Alas P said Mrs. Hal worth, with a sigh, " I 
have known girls as deserving as herself, who have 
been deceived, though married under the most aus- 
picious circumstances ; and Kate, for aught we 
know, may meet with a husband, w r ho will only 
take her hence to break her heart !" 

u And if he does" said Harry, with vehemence, 
" I'll break his head, and fetch her home again !" 

His mother and sister would occasionally joke 
him about some pretty girl or other ; but he 
always denied the charge, and at one time was 
even rash enough to defy the little god in all his 



HENRY RALWOItTH. 243 

power. He said that he had stood the test of 
beauty and of time — for he was now thirty years 
old — and intended for the future to pay his court 
to the married women, and not " meddle with the 
young girls" till an additional twenty years should 
authorise the freedom. 

Vain was the determination ! 

It certainly was a most extraordinary circum- 
stance, that, of all the women in the neighbour- 
hood, he should fix upon the only one who might 
be said to realise his opinion of female demerit : 
yet such was Miss Amelia Musgrave — the prettiest 
girl in the place, and the vainest. No sooner had 
she attracted attention by her beauty, than it was 
superseded by disgust for her affectation; and 
Harry Hal worth— as if to prove the impotence of 
the stoutest heart that ever boasted invulnerability 
— became enamoured of her ! 

The first symptom of my hero's apostacy ap- 
peared in his dress, which was completed with 
more nicety than usual : the jockey coat was ex- 
changed for one of a London cut ; and the spotted 
neckerchief was superseded by a cravat of the 
whitest muslin. Reports had already found their 
way to the principal tea-tables in the neighbour- 
hood^ and became still more general on his having, 

™ © 



244 HENRY HALWORTH. 

upon one occasion, escorted the lady through the 
high street. This circumstance, . in short, was 
deemed conclusive. Successively related at each 
house, it gained an accession at every transfer, till 
it reached the parsonage at the end of the town, 
when suppositions were augmented into certainties, 
and appearances established as facts. The clergy- 
man's wife issued a second edition, improved by 
her own addenda ; and it was soon almost univer- 
sally understood, that if Mr. Halworth and Miss 
Musgrave had not been already united in some 
other parish, the ceremony would be immediately 
performed in their own. 

When all this came to Harry's ears, he had but 
one reply to make : he honestly confessed that he 
liked Miss Musgrave, and was only sorry that the 
report was so great an exaggeration. 

** However,"" said he, " 'tis a pity all this talk 
should be about nothing ; so I'll e'en give them 
cause for a little more tattle, and make the young 
lady a regular offer." 

He did so— and was refused. Neither was he 
rejected in the civilest way possible; and he sub- 
sequently heard that she had deemed his offer 
" bold" and " presumptuous.*" 

" Why, d — n it," said Harry, " I don't exactly 



HENRY HALWORTH. 245 

see how I can have offended her, either ; egad, I 
think I have paid her a very high compliment. 
Have I not broken my vow of celibacy on her 
account? Have I not offered her the dominion 
of my house? the possession of my ewes and 
lambs? — HI be a bachelor/ 5 said he, " for the 
remainder of my life." 

And thus we return to the point whence we set 
off. 

Harry evinced more philosophy under his disap- 
pointment than he had shewn in the selection of 
his lady-love ; and was to be seen, on the following 
morning, whistling cheerily through his farm-yard 
— -his heart once more independent, and his spotted 
neckcloth reinstated. 

There was, just about this time, a detachment of 
foot-soldiers quartered in the town, which assumed 
in consequence an appearance of life and gaiety 
such as the peaceable inhabitants were but little 
accustomed to. The young officers^ in all the pride 
of their dazzling accoutrements, strutted about the 
streets as usual, winning smiles from every shop- 
keeper's daughter as she sat at the window, decked 
in her holiday finery ; while the market-place, which 
erst now had only known the sounds of some gab- 
bling cabbage vender, or honest poultry woman out- 



246 HEN It Y HAL WORTH. 

cackling her ducks in praise of their excellence, re- 
sounded with the beat of " the spirit-stirring drum," 
and glittered with all the blazonry of martial pomp. 
— Mothers were busy in the guardianship of their 
daughters virtue, and husbands over anxious that 
the protective power should be solely vested in them- 
selves. Red coats and epaulettes are, it must be 
allowed, moving things, and the eloquence of their 
wearers is proverbial, while the music that aids 
them in the field assists them in the promenade. 

Among the officers was one Captain Sullivain, 
who, having served his apprenticeship amid all the 
shallow fopperies of St. James's Street, purchased 
a commission in this regiment, and assumed the 
dress of a soldier — 

' c Why, God-a-mercy ! 
When I think upon him, 'tis a miracle 
That any woman should for such a thing 
As he was — such a jay bedizen'd in 
The feathers of a peacock — leave the wing 
Of a fine eagle spirit. — Yet it is — 
For such a civetted ; inglorious knave !" 

He was a complete lady's man — one of those ex- 
quisite personages, whose chief business consists in 
making calls upon the fair — in beauing them about 
from place to place — procuring them lip-salve, and 



HENRY HALWORTH. 247 

taking boxes for them at the theatre. At a ball it 
was his pride to " cut out" (as he termed it) " all 
the vulgar fa-e-llows," and to walk up and down the 
assembly room with a lady on each arm ; otto of 
roses emanating as spontaneously from his person as 
sentimentality from his brain. 

Harry Hal worth was seated in the coffee-room of 
an inn awaiting the arrival of his sister by the coach. 
In due time the vehicle drew up, and was immedi- 
ately surrounded, as usual, by a crowd of idlers, or 
persons in expectation of their friends. When 
Halworth appeared in the street, he was rather sur- 
prised at seeing one of the officers standing with his 
head through the coach window, and, as it appear- 
ed, conversing with his sister. He turned out to 
be the very man whom I have just been describing 
to you, at that time a perfect stranger to Harry. 
The latter, on coming nearer to the coach, heard 
the officer accost his sister in a strain of the most 
impertinent familiarity. — His blood rushed up in a 
moment ! he held back a while to be fully assured 
of the fellow's purpose, and heard Miss Halworth 
desire him " to go about his business." — 

" But, my love," said he, " my business is with 
you? 



248 HENRY HALWORTH. 

" First of all, Sir," said Harry, turning the dash- 
ing captain from the door of the coach by his collar 
— " first of all, Sir, you'll settle matters with me. 
I am a fitter person for your insult than that lady, 
for I can resent it." 

"D n it," said the warrior, "here's a 

fa-e-llow ! And pray, Sir, who the devil are 
you ?" 

"One, who may prove a very devil, indeed, if 
you don't instantly take yourself off. Come, Sir, 
march ! or I'll so soil your finery in that gutter, 
that your comrades won't know you again." 

" I am a soldier — and — " 

u So, I suppose, by your livery ," said Harry, 
" though, from your manners, I very much ques- 
tion your right to the title." 

" You are an impertinent scoundrel, I think," 
said the man-o'-war ; " and, I trust, you do not 
imagine that I shall put up with your insolence." 

" You'd better" said Harry ; " it will be more 
easy to put up with than my resentment." 

"Your resentment !" exclaimed the other, fumb- 
ling for his card case. 

" Come, Sir," added Halworth, coolly, " take 
yourself off, while your epaulettes are on your 



HENRY HALW0RTH. 249 

shoulders. A little reflection will, I am sure, con- 
vince you that you have done nothing worthy of a 
soldier by insulting a woman." 

" It is not my way," said the son of Mars, <c to 
argue the matter in the open streets. Here is my 
card — you will be kind enough to favour me with 
your's." 

" I don't carry cards," said Harry, laughing ; 
" but if you wish to know my name, and place of 
abode, I'll tell you : my name is Henry Hal worth, 
of Hal worth Hall, close by." 

" I shall remember, Sir — here is my card ; and 
you may shortly expect to hear from me." 

Halworth took the card from him, and instantly 
tearing it in pieces, threw the fragments into the 
kennel. " We differ," said he, " in our mode of 
settling disputes." 

" Then," replied the captain, " I have but one 
alternative." 

" I guess at your intention," said Harry : " you 
mean to post my name up as that of a coward. 
Now, hark you, Sir. It is not in your power to 
hurt my reputation either as a man of honour or 
courage. I neither choose to subject myself to the 
fallacies of military custom, nor do I think that by 
doing so, I should give any proof of bravery. My 



250 HENRY HAL WORTH. 

life, Sir, is valuable to others, and certainly of too 
much worth to be staked against your own. If I 
have done you wrong, seek legal redress. For my 
own part, I should as much object to trouble my- 
self with a prosecution, as I now scorn to take ad- 
vantage of that physical force which would enable 
me to shake the very soul out of you ! But you 
know that the weakness of your cause is equal to 
your personal imbecility ." 

" Sir," said the other, interrupting him, u we 
shall meet again — or, at least — " 

Halwortlfs patience was now exhausted. He 
seized Sullivain by the collar, and thus concluded 
the conference. 

" Know, then, Sir — the lady whom you have 
insulted is my sister ! she and her mother look up 
to me as to their only protector. You shall not 
rob them of that protector, depend upon it. Any 
communication from you will be treated with con- 
tempt ; and, if you cast the slightest imputation upon 
my courage, by G — d, Sir, I'll break every bone in 
your skin !" 

I have forborne to interrupt this altercation, by 
mentioning its effect upon the crowd, who, of 
course, unanimously sided with Halworth, and 
heartily enjoyed the discomfiture of the captain. 



HENBY HALW0RTH. 251 

A loud burst of laughter followed the conclusion 
of Harry's speech, and the officer quitted the scene 
with as good a face as he well could do. Several 
of his brethren, attracted by the noise, had joined 
the crowd, but they could not penetrate it ; and I 
am inclined to believe that they remain partially 
ignorant of what occurred to this day. Never was 
the triumph of a manly heart more complete than 
in this instance. Poor Kate, having, in some de- 
gree, recovered from the terrors which had over- 
whelmed her during the uproar, was now conducted 
by her brother into a post-chaise, and they were 
driven off amid the cheering shouts of the popu- 
lace. 

Shortly after this event, the detachment left the 
town ; and, for a time, nothing more transpired 
concerning our military hero. At length, however, 
he again became the subject of general conversa- 
tion ; and, if his conduct in the affair with Hal- 
worth had been insufficient to exhibit him in a true 
light, his character was now fully developed. Some 

months subsequent to his departure from , 

it was ascertained, beyond all doubt, that he had 
for ever crushed the peace of a certain family in 
the neighbourhood, by effecting the ruin of a very 
beautiful girl, who, being unable to bear the re- 



252 HENRY HAL WORTH. 

proofs of her friends, and the general knowledge of 
her dishonour, had quitted her home in secret, to 
seek the arms of her lover in London. It is sup- 
posed that a promise of marriage was among the 
temptations employed to complete her downfall ; 
but her seducer, though he received her in town, 
never fulfilled the chief clause in his engagement, 
and she was reduced to the necessity of becoming 
his mistress. For a season they were to be seen 
together in the parks and places of public amuse- 
ment : but Sullivain, as might be expected, soon 
became disgusted with his paramour, and deserted 
her. Plunged in debt, he was anticipating the 
horrors of incarceration, when a quarrel with a 
brother officer elicited a challenge. The issue of 
the combat was fatal to him ; and the unfortunate 
victim of his falsehood, no longer able to rely for 
support on those charms of person which misery 
had faded, soon descended into the grave. 



My companion having finished his narrative, I 
was anxious to know what had become of the gal- 
lant Hal worth. 

" Let me first inform you,*" said he, " that, of 



HENRY HALWORTH. 253 

the fate of Miss Amelia Musgrave you are already 
acquainted — Sullivain's mistress was none other 
than she !" 

" Good Heaven !" I exclaimed, " and Hal- 
worth ?" 

u Married ray sister/' 
" I congratulate her. And Kate ?" 
" You may congratulate me" said my com- 
panion, " she is my wife." 



ST. VALENTINE'S DAY. 



To-morrow is St. Valentine's day. 

HAMLET. 

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy. 

OTHELLO. 



ST. VALENTINE'S DAY. 



I returned to the hospitable mansion of the 
squire on the eve of St. Valentine, and received 
from each member of his family the most flattering 
welcome. Miss Emily's inamorato, who was 
staying at the house, appeared in much better 
spirits than when he last parted from me in the 
coach. In fact, there was every reason for the 
change, since the doubts which then agitated his 
mind had now given place to certainty. He had 
in the interim declared his passion, and received 
assurances that the attachment was mutual. 

It was the custom of the gentry about this 
neighbourhood occasionally to get up a small as- 
sembly in the town hall of the adjacent borough, 



258 st. valentine's day. 

and St. Valentine's Day had been fixed upon for 
their next meeting, so that I was no less fortunate 
in the time of my second visit than I had been at 
my first arrival. I found all the ladies of the 
squire's family busily occupied in preparation 
for " the gay to-morrow." Miss Emily was 
exercising her best taste upon an additional 
flounce or two, and diligently studying the most 
becoming manner of wearing a wreath of artificial 
flowers with which her admirer had that evening 
presented her. 

On the following morning, as we were sitting at 
breakfast, a letter arrived for Miss Wheatley. 
The direction, written in a bold, undisguised hand, 
was eyed with some degree of anxiety by Master 
Alfred, whose uneasiness increased the more when 
I suggested the probability of its being a Valen- 
tine. 

A Valentine it was : emblazoned, too, with every 
fascinating device which the gilder and colourist 
could supply. In the midst was a rose, which, on 
being pulled up, discovered three hearts, two 
united, but of these only one transfixed with Cupid's 
arrow, while the third was to be seen in the 
distance, copiously bleeding in solitude. 

There was something so novel in all this, that 



st. valentine's day. 259 

the young lady regarded it with more attention 
than she would have bestowed upon an ordinary 
Valentine, though, of course, without any feeling 
beyond that of mere curiosity ; but Master Alfred 
(so exquisite is the sensibility of a lover) absolutely 
turned pale on beholding it. 

a Well," said the squire, laughing heartily at 
the perplexity of the one, and the wretchedness of 
the other, " what is it all about ? Come, Alfred, 
read it, my boy.'' 

Alfred, however, declined. He seemed per- 
fectly unable to enter into the merriment of the 
affair, and had much difficulty in retaining his 
fortitude while the squire perused these lines 
aloud: — 

" And hast thou giv'n thy heart to one 

Who has no love to answer thine ? 
And hast thou on another smiPd, 

And for his vows neglected mine ? 

Lift by the silken string this rose — 

The emblem of thyself — and see 
How thou hast misaUied thyself 

And how thy fate has wounded me. 

Thine is the bleeding heart united 

To the other heart of stone ; 
While the heart that loves thee truly, 

Far away must bleed alone ! 

s 2 



2(>0 st. valentine's day. 

To-night at Arlington's assembly, 

Where Thalia's vot'ries meet, 
Thou shalt find a packet under 

The north-western window seat. 

Read the packet on the morrow ; 

Let my rival read it too : 
It may teach him never more with 

Jealous fits to trouble you." 

Here was a strange medley ; sufficiently absurd 
to amuse every one but our fidgetty lover, who 
looked forward to the evening with great and in- 
creasing anxiety. 

The wished-for time at length arrived. On en- 
tering the ball-room the lovers hastened to the 
u north western window seat," and discovered the 
mysterious packet. Alfred was about to leave the 
room to examine it immediately. 

" No," said his mistress, " it is directed to me in 
particular, and I shall obey the mandate which 
enjoins the perusal of its contents to-morrow." 

" But consider my feelings," said the lover. 

" I rather consider your folly," replied his mis- 
tress. " Had you treated the whole affair with 
that jocularity which it was no doubt the intention 
of its author to excite, you might have done with 
the packet as you pleased ; but, since you have 



ST. valentine's day. 261 

chosen to deem it a matter of importance, let every 
thing be conducted with regularity. If such ridi- 
culous trifles put you into a fever, what happiness 
may we hereafter expect ? I shall now put the 
packet into my reticule, and to-morrow at breakfast 
we will examine its contents." 

* But, my dearest Emily — " 

" Nay," said she, " how can you love her whom 
you doubt?" 

" I do not doubt you/' replied Alfred. 

" Then why fear others ?" said the amiable girl. 

At this moment the music struck up, and they 
took their places for the dance. 

Unquestionably " the lords of the creation,' * 
while experiencing the various little vexations inci- 
dental to courtship, cut but a very sorry figure ; 
and it is a difficult matter to reconcile the dis- 
parity between the sensitive and capricious lover, 
always in the extremes of joy, jealousy, and humi- 
liation, and the authoritative husband of after 
years, smiling superciliously at the vanities of his 
wife, and reproving with frowns the follies of his 
children. These observations were suggested by 
the appearance of Master Alfred, who looked any 
thing but a hero upon the present occasion, and 
wore an aspect wonderfully assimilating to that of 



262 ST. valentine's day. 

a drenched dunghill cock. Having once danced 
with his mistress, he sat down for the remainder of 
the ball to tantalize himself with groundless and 
fear-fraught speculations. He keenly scrutinized 
each gallant with whom she danced ; magnified the 
common shows of courtesy into marked attentions ; 
and successively discovered, by the most convincing 
evidence, that each of her partners was the author 
of the Valentine. 

I was regarding the downcast lover with a 
mixed feeling of pity and contempt, when I felt 
a gentle tap on the shoulder, and, on turning 
round, was equally surprised and delighted to 
find myself once more in the company of — the 
odd gentleman ! He had been induced to annul 
his original intention of an immediate return home ; 
and, as he never omitted any opportunity of giving 
his support to the innocent gaieties of this life, he 
had resolved to postpone his departure till the day 
after the assembly. 

f* And pray," said he, pointing to the drooping 
Alfred, " who is yon man of melancholy ?" 

His ignorance, however, was affected. Taking 
me into the adjoining waiting room, he gave me 
to understand — what the reader shall understand in 
due time : for the present, I would beg his atten- 
tion to other matter. 



st. valentine's day. 263 

The amusements were drawing towards a close. 
Many of the company were gone, and the card 
players had begun to descend into the ball-room. 
A country dance was proposed ; but the odd gentle- 
man having neglected to provide himself before- 
hand with a partner, was fearful of being obliged 
to sit out, when, lo ! who should make her appear- 
ance in the ball-room, but the elderly spinster, our 
travelling companion ! 

Under circumstances so peculiar, and, I may say, 
ludicrous, this rencontre could not fail to entertain 
me highly. The odd gentleman, though doubtless 
much surprised, lost none of his apparent compo- 
sure, and saluted the antiquated fair one with a bow 
which might have done credit to Sir Charles Gran- 
dison. It was returned by a gentle inclination of 
the head, such as might have been expected from 
the martial heroine of Tilbury Fort. 

" Allow me, Madam/' said the odd gentle- 
man, u to express my sincere hopes that your late 
journey was unattended by inconvenience and 
fatigue ?" 

" Why, no. Sir," replied she, " considering all 
things, I was extremely glad to get to my journey's 
end." 

" At all events," continued the former, " I may 



§64 ST. valentine's day. 

conclude that you have by this time entirely reco- 
vered, and shall venture to solicit the honour of 
your hand for the country dance." 

" Excuse me, Sir, my dancing days are over."" 

" Then should mine be also, Madam." 

" As you think, Sir," replied the lady. 

" Convinced of its propriety," added he, " I 
would rather abide by your opinion." 

U Then, Sir, since we last parted you have alter- 
ed materially.' 9 

" And, I trust, Madam, for the better." 

The lady was silent. 

It was with great difficulty that the master of the 
ceremonies prevailed upon her to accede to the so- 
licitation of the odd gentleman. At length, how- 
ever, she stood up, though much against her incli- 
nation, and the dancing commenced. 

O for the pencil of a Stephanoff ! The author of 
" Poor Relations," who could so successfully depict 
the contrast between suffering merit and pampered 
pride, might certainly have here discovered a 
subject scarcely less worthy of his notice. 

Here was to be seen the joint personification of 
frigid propriety and cheerful benevolence — the 
difference between that virtue which had never 
been subject to temptation, and the worth which 



ST. valentine's day. 265 

had outlived it — between the stiffness of un- 
awakened humanity and the generosity of a feeling 
and experienced heart. The odd gentleman exhi- 
bited a grace in his movements which the younger 
beaux had done well to emulate; while the acti- 
vity which he displayed, was at once a convincing 
proof that our " dancing days' 1 may extend beyond 
the limits of youth. His partner, on the contrary, 
moved along like a windmill en masse, with its 
sails fixed. Her toes never once trespassed beyond 
the pale of her petticoat, and her body retained its 
perpendicular as truly as a plummet suspended in 
a vacuum. It was evident that her " dancing 
days'" had never had an existence ; and that the 
spring of her life had been cloudy as its autumn 
was cold. 

At the close of the ball, I parted finally with 
the odd gentleman who had determined on leaving 
the following morning, and rejoined the squire's 
party. 

" Why, Alfred," said Mr. Wheatley, as we 
rode homeward, " you are all in the dolefuls to- 
night r 

" Have I not cause ?" said the youth. 

" I think I have most," replied Emily, in a 
half whisper. 



266 st. valentine's day. 

" Why, you seem to have been happy enough," 
said her lover. 

" I might have been happier, Alfred, I assure 
you." 

H Yes," he replied, u had I been absent " 

The amiable girl scorned to answer an insinua- 
tion so unmerited. In silence they reached home, 
and in silence retired to their respective chambers. 
" The usual way with us all," said Mr. Wheat- 
ley: " amantium irce — the proverb is somewhat 
musty." 

Ere I bid " good night" to my reader, it were 
as well that I should inform him of what the odd 
gentleman had communicated, when, as may be 
recollected, he took me aside from the ball-room. 

" You know me," said he, u to be a queer 
fellow, and will perhaps think I have been a little 
too forward in meddling with the affairs of others. 
I acknowledge it as my weakness to pry occasion- 
ally into matters which no way concern me, and 
have only to plead good intention as an excuse. 
Now, Sir, I am informed that yon ' knight of the 
woeful countenance' is desperately enamoured of 
Miss Wheatley, who is again enamoured of him — 
that he is a young man of sense, principle, and 
feeling; but too apt to make both himself and 



st. valentine's day. 267 

mistress unhappy, by suffering appearances to 
imply more than assurances can contradict. I 
like to plague these captious gentlemen a little, 
and thence my motive for sending a Valentine to 
the fair Miss Emily. The packet alluded to con- 
tains the narrative of a few facts — not precisely 
applying to the love-match in question, but suit- 
able, nevertheless — and the perusal of it may do 
them both a service." 



Our party having assembled at the breakfast 
table next morning, Miss Wheatley opened the 
packet, and a loose strip of paper, containing the 
following exordium, was the first object of notice. 

" Ye, who listen with tenderness to the whisper- 
ings of love, and hasten with eagerness to the altar 
of Hymen ; beware how appearances induce you to 
mistrust ; nor accuse your lovers of being faithless, 
till you have proved their infidelity." 

Within a second envelope was a fair manuscript, 
of which the following tale is a correct copy. 



GORDON. 



"All's well that ends well." 



GORDON. 



Few people, I trust, would incur the imputa- 
tion of being so insensible to the charms of the pic- 
turesque, as to remain for any length of time in the 
neighbourhood of Chepstow, without paying a visit 
to Tintern Abbey. Both the ruin itself, and the 
beautiful scene in which it lies imbosomed, are, 
perhaps, unequalled in their kind ; and were it my 
present object to paint a picture, instead of to tell a 
tale, I should be unable to find a subject more pleas- 
ingly diversified than the one in question. But 
the associations connected with this venerable re- 
main, are such as would render it in teresting to 
me, though its individual claims to notice were 
comparatively weak : for, it was while rambling 



272 GORDON. 

among its roofless and ivy-grown recesses, that I 
became acquainted with three among the most esti- 
mable of the human species. 

Some people object to dine alone : — I can't say- 
that I do. I have, however, a decided aversion to 
feast in solitude on the beauties of Nature ; and, 
like Sterne, cannot thoroughly enjoy a charming 
prospect, without some one to whom I may impart 
the pleasure it affords. There was consequently 
every reason for self-congratulation, when I receiv- 
ed the polite salutation of an individual, who by his 
dress appeared to be a clergyman, and whose con- 
versation bore ample testimony to the intelligence 
of his mind. Having explored the various parts of 
the abbey, and conversed a while upon the history 
of its foundation and subsequent fate, my companion 
changed the subject of our discourse, by pointing 
to a fallen capital in the area of the north transept : 

u That stone," said he, " is a memorial of inte- 
rest. You are most probably ignorant of the little 
romantic history connected with it ?" 

" As you have excited my curiosity," I replied, 
" I hope you will now gratify it." 

" Most willingly," he answered. 

Never was a story of romance delivered under 
circumstances more favourable. The mildness of 



GORDON. 273 

the evening, the beauty of the scene, and the elo- 
quence of the relater, were all in unison ; and I 
only regret that my reader must receive the nar- 
rative under such comparative disadvantages. 



It was on a fine summer morning, (said my 
companion,) about three years back, that I paid 
. my first visit to these ruins, having just before been 
appointed to the rectorship of a village hard by. 
As I advanced towards the ruined choir, I perceiv- 
ed a young man seated on the stone to which I have 
already called your attention. He was dressed in 
black, and appeared to be about the age of two- 
and-twenty, while his pale and care-worn face be- 
tokened him a child of misery. It was natural I 
should suppose him a mourner for the dead — yet 
there was no crape upon his hat to denote the loss 
of any near alliance, and my surmises began to 
lean towards disappointed love. I walked by him 
once or twice ; but could perceive no indication of 
his being inclined to communicate with me ; and, 
though my curiosity was great, my sense of deli- 
cacy prevailed. 

On leaving the abbey I inquired concerning him 
at a neighbouring cottage, and learned that he had 
been in the vicinity upwards of a twelvemonth. 



274 GORDON. 

When he first came, there was a gloominess in his 
manner, and an apparent backwardness to allow of 
the advances of intimacy, which gave rise to much 
speculation among the inhabitants : — 

" Some deem'd him wondrous wise, and some believ'd him mad." 

He was continually to be seen walking by the side 
of the river Wye, either absorbed in thought, or 
attentively perusing a book. Sometimes he would 
stop and gaze on the children as they were at play, 
conversing occasionally with the younger ones, and 
making them little presents. The first person with 
whom he became in any way intimate, was a neigh- 
bouring farmer, whose youngest boy, being a child 
of unusual intelligence, had, as I conceive, at- 
tracted the stranger's attention by the precocity 
of his remarks. The little fellow came running 
home one day, with a nicely bound copy of John- 
son's Rasselas, which, he said, the ' strange gentle- 
man' had given him. On the following morning 
the father met him by accident, and ventured to 
thank him for his kindness to the child. He replied 
with much courtesy, and the farmer frequently con- 
versed with him afterwards, though without elicit- 
ing anything of his history." 

An advance having been thus made by one of 



GORDON. v 275 

the villagers, others would occasionally venture to 
address him. By this means a sort of qualified in- 
timacy became generally established, though it was 
remarked that he always seemed particularly care- 
ful not to encourage any familiarity on the part of 
his landlord, and the people where he lodged. 

In the course of time I managed to introduce 
myself; and, by slow degrees, winning upon his 
confidence, at length obtained from him the his- 
tory of his griefs. 

He gave his name as George Cunningham. At 
a very early age, it appears, he became an orphan, 
inheriting an income of something more than a 
hundred a year, together with an independence of 
spirit, which rendered him a very unfrequent guest 
in the mansions of his several wealthy relatives. 

He soon discovered himself to be a young man of 
refined intellect, and much intensity of feeling; 
and, while the former subjected him to the sneers 
of the envious, his sensibility little qualified him for 
the endurance of repartee. 

" The man renown'd for repartee, 
Will seldom scruple to make free 

With friendship's finest feeling- 
Will thrust a dagger at your breast, 
And tell you c 'twas a special jest' 

By way of balm for healing." 
T 2 



276 GORDON. 

Too early accustomed, perhaps, to think for him- 
self, he acquired a singularity of opinion, as well as 
habit, highly displeasing to his common-place ac- 
quaintance. He had, in short, a few original 
notions, and uttered them boldly ; drawing upon 
himself the heaviest accusations of pride and arro- 
gance, and, in some measure, courting the charge 
of misanthropy. 

Of course, it was not to be expected that so 
susceptible a heart would long remain unmoved by 
the fascinations of beauty : though he was some 
time ere he met with a mistress answering the 
beau-ideal of. his mind. His imagination had fur- 
nished him with a highly-coloured portrait, and it 
was not fe till he met with Miss Caroline Sterling, 
that Fancy acknowledged the superiority of Truth. 
Here, then, he found a supposed realization of his 
airy dreams. Those affections which had been, as it 
were, increasing in his breast till it would permit 
no further accumulation, now burst forth in all 
their plenitude; and Cunningham, who had so 
long suffered under the ribaldry of the unfeeling, 
was now happy in the possession of a beloved 
woman's sympathy. 

There was only one bar to his joy — the necessity 
of being secret. With the family of his mistress 



GORDON. 277 

he was no favourite. His intellectual merits were 
not likely to be appreciated by Mr, Sterling, who 
was an extremely illiterate man, while his devoted 
attachment to money would, of course, prove an 
additional obstacle to a poor lover's suit. Ob- 
stacles, however, in matters of the heart, may be 
almost termed inducements, every new difficulty 
giving a fresh impetus to determination 

But the happiness of my hero was of short dura- 
tion. The fervour of his passion was too great to 
allow of the concealment which policy required, 
and Mr. Sterling began to suspect the existence of 
some attachment. His apprehensions aroused, 
there was but little chance of escaping his watchful- 
ness, and the interception of a letter brought the 
whole affair to light. It was directed to his 
daughter in the hand- writing of Cunningham, and 
the enraged parent, on breaking the seal, disco- 
vered, to his astonishment, that an attachment was 
not only commenced, but an engagement formed. 
Amiable under no circumstances, he violated every 
decency when inflamed with anger, and disho- 
noured the sensitive Cunningham with a blow ! 

The latter was, of course, forbid the house ; but 
the mere act of denying him all access to his mistress 
was deemed a very inadequate stretch of severity, 



278 GORDON. 

and the honesty of his intentions towards the lady was 
even called into question. Miss Sterling was sent 
from home for the effectual prevention of any com- 
munication with her lover; and it was shortly 
reported that her heart was not only weaned from 
the passion which had so lately engrossed it ; but 
that she had become fully convinced of the danger 
she had escaped, and was thankful for her deli- 
verance. 

The wretchedness of Cunningham may be con- 
ceived. Malice contrived to support her proceed- 
ings with so much corroborative ingenuity, that he 
was left to ruminate on the too great likelihood of 
an alteration in Caroline's feelings. 

At length her approaching marriage with a 
young man, who had long been her suitor, was 
noised abroad ; and the intelligence fell on the ears 
of the wretched Cunningham like a withering blast ! 
" Perplexed in the extreme," he remained for a 
while writhing under the triumphant sneers of 
gratified envy, occasionally seeking for a solitary 
hope in the possibility of false report. Never had 
his mistress evinced a greater ardour of attachment 
than when he last saw her ; and, as he wept over 
the locket that she had given him just before their 
separation, he could not but entertain some faint 



GORDON. 279 

surmise that she had been, with himself, the sub- 
ject of cruel misrepresentation. By this shadow 
of a hope he enabled himself to await some further 
intelligence concerning the truth of what had been 
reported ; nor was it till six weeks after the day 
of their parting that he resigned himself to misery. 
His fate, however, as he had every reason to con- 
ceive, was now decided by the following brief com- 
munication which he received from the hands of 
Mr. Sterling's servant. The superscription, he ob- 
served, was in the hand-writing of her impenetrable 
sire ; but the more important part had been too 
truly penned by Caroline. 

" Sir, 
" It will be useless to inquire my reasons for 
peremptorily refusing (as I hereby do) to permit a 
continuation of your addresses. Any further im- 
portunity will be considered as insulting. 

" Caroline Sterling/' 

The poor fellow was stupified. Thrice he read 
the letter, and as often had to await the recovery 
of his stunned senses. 

" Gracious Heaven," said he, " wherefore this 
wanton cruelty ? ,? 



280 GORDON. 

(The narrator here paused, and the tears gushed 
into his eyes. " I am always affected, Sir," said he, 
" when I think upon the peculiar tone in which 
Cunningham repeated those words. It was the 
climax of agony depicted. He sat for several 
moments, with his clenched hands upon his knees, 
and seemed to be enduring such a struggle with 
wretchedness, that I almost feared to permit his 
continuation of the narrative. ' It is almost con- 
cluded,' said he, panting for the recovery of his 
composure — ' I never related it till now, and shall 
never attempt it again P") 

Fully assured of the identity of this letter, he 
had no longer any doubt of the writer's baseness ; 
and recovering in some degree from the violence of 
the first shock, he took the earliest means of flying 
from the scene of his blighted happiness. Restor- 
ing to Miss Sterling the several letters and little 
presents which he had received from her at various 
times, he implored for her the pardon of heaven, 
and bade adieu to the scene of her falsehood for ever. 
Chance brought him here, where he determined 
on spending the remainder of his days as became 
a christian ; and he was never heard to repine, 
although the silent workings of memory were evi- 
dently effecting his gradual dissolution. 



GORDON. 281 

Never shall I forget my feelings when he parted 
from me at the conclusion of his melancholy tale. 
u A little while," thought I, " and his cheek will 
be cold as it is pale — the grave will close over his 
wretchedness, and I alone shall retain the memory 
of his wrongs V 9 

Of course, having entrusted me with his confi- 
dence, our intimacy soon ripened into friendship ; 
I gradually introduced him to my congregation, 
and he became the village favourite — not a lively 
member of our little community, but a deservedly 
respected one: daily proving his claims to the 
gratitude of the poor, and the solicitude of the more 
fortunate. 

These ruins became his favourite resort; nor 
can we wonder at his preference for a scene, the 
character of w T hich was so much in unison with the 
state of his own mind. 

It was several months after our first acquaint- 
ance that I met him on this very spot, looking, as 
I conceived, more wretched than usual. As we 
paced together up and down the nave, the sky 
became suddenly overcast with every appearance 
of a forthcoming storm ; and hastily directing our 
steps towards the village, we arrived at a small inn 
on the road side, just time enough to escape one of 



282 GORDON. 

the most tremendous tempests I have ever witnessed. 
The rain fell in torrents. The thunder roared in 
loud and lengthened peals, and vivid flashes of 
forked lightning followed each other in quick and 
constant succession. 

" It is an ill wind," says the proverb, " that 
blows nobody any good ;" but George Cunning- 
ham little calculated upon the full extent of the 
benefit which his fate had ordained as the conse- 
quence of this storm : — 

" If after every tempest come such calms, 

May the winds blow till they have waken'd death !" 

We had scarcely entered the parlour of the inn, 
when a horseman gallopped into the adjoining yard, 
and tying his panting steed to a cross bar in the 
shed, entered the house, called for refreshments, 
and joined Cunningham and myself in the par- 
lour. My companion regarded him for a mo- 
ment, as if not unacquainted with his features, and 
the stranger, mistaking his expression of curiosity 
for one of social inclination, immediately entered 
into conversation. 

After a few common-place remarks, Merton (for 
such was the stranger's name) made an allusion 
to Lord Byron, whose lamentable death was just 



GORDON. 283 

then the theme of general conversation. This led 
to a discussion on the writings of that illustrious 
individual, in which Cunningham displayed an 
enthusiasm of mind and fervour of manner, form- 
ing a striking contrast to the coolness and suavity 
which marked his ordinary discourse; while Merton, 
whose opinions upon the subject were directly 
opposed to those of my companion, argued, in his 
turn, somewhat warmly; strongly contesting the 
immoral tendency of writings he had never read, 
or could not understand ; and boldly asserting, as 
unquestionable fact, every thing which the calum- 
nies of the envious, and the ignorance of the pre- 
judiced, had brought forward in the depreciation of 
a man, perhaps, " more sinned against than sin- 
ning," — "Nay, more," said Merton, "I can quote 
at least, one case in support of what I have ad- 
vanced. I know something of a disciple of the 
Byron school, who has most effectually succeeded 
in bringing a highly respectable family into a state 
of wretchedness ; and has either retired from the 
world, or immersed himself in its debaucheries, 
because he failed in his attempt to seduce an amia- 
ble and lovely girl, whose affections, I presume, he 
obtained, by an artful appliance of those cursed 
fascinations, which are so frequently to be found in 



284 GORDON. 

the strains of these poetical reptiles. She, poor 
girl, was persuaded of her error too late ; for, 
though she must have been ultimately convinced of 
his baseness, she was unable to extricate her affec- 
tions from one, whom she abhorred as an atheist, 
while she loved him as a man ! Yes, Sir ; the 
fellow was an atheist ! made up of pride, indolence, 
and my Lord Byron's poetry. No sooner were his 
clandestine proceedings discovered by the father of 
the young lady, than he at once proclaimed the base- 
ness of his intentions, by the skulking meanness of 
his conduct. He flew from the village, and deserted 
her. Without explanation, he sent back all her let- 
ters, and tokens of affection, and, in short, broke 
her heart ! Perhaps, he is now wandering about 
the world to cheat the understandings of the weak 
and sensitive, by persuading them that he is the 
ruin of a once fine and noble minded creature, who 
was born with a love for his species, and a natural 
desire to promote its good : but, finding that the 
c world never loved him,' and that his fellow- 
creatures thought him — if not a fool — something 
infinitely worse, he has very magnanimously be- 
come a hater of men, making drinking cups of their 
skulls, and courting the friendship of Newfound- 
land dogs." 



GORDON, 285 

u 1 am too much interested," said Cunningham, 
with impatient anxiety, "in the behalf of the 
young lady, to attend to your sneers at the noble 
poet in question : they may, or may not, be just ; 
— but, pray, Sir (his voice faltered as he put the 
question), does she still live ?" 

u She lingers, Sir,'' replied Merton. 

u Did you ever hear the name of the — villain ?" 

" O, yes — and was once, I believe, in his com- 
pany, although I have no recollection of his per- 
son. When we wish to sum up every thing that 
is opprobrious, in one word, we pronounce the 
name of Gordon i" 

This was the first time of my being acquainted 
with the real sirname of my companion ; but my 
surprise bore no comparison with the astonishment 
of Merton, when he encountered the following 
reply. 

"Liar ! — restrain the torrent of your cruel and 
unmerited abuse. In me behold the object of your 
calumniation !" 

Merton was a man of more passion than spirit, 
and rather weak than unamiable. He knew that 
he had grounded his opinion on report, and that 
in expressing it, he had been influenced by one 
of his strongest prejudices. Though scarcely a 



286 GORDON 

time for levity, it was impossible to behold the 
sudden change in Merton's manner and counte- 
nance, without an inclination to smile. He re- 
mained, at first, wholly confounded ; his censorial 
dignity having been completely crushed beneath 
the sudden proclamation of Gordon's identity ; 
and, while the latter paced up and down the room 
with angry strides, he sat with open mouth, and 
fixed eyes, like a man just thrown with all his per- 
ceptive qualities into a new world. 

At length, when he attempted to speak, it was 
in so confused a manner, that Gordon really felt 
for and relieved him. 

" You are somewhat embarrassed, Mr. Merton, 
and well you may be : but I do not scorn to ame- 
liorate my character — even in your eyes ; and if 
you will condescend to examine both sides of a 
question which you have decided upon too prema- 
turely, you may, perhaps, be induced to think 
better of me." 

After a short pause, he resumed : — 

" We have both been wrong. You treated me 
with undue severity ; but I have returned it in full, 
and hope you will overlook what has just passed." 

Here Merton stammered out something like an 
apology — quoted his authorities for those sup- 



GORDON. 287 

positions, which he was happy to find had proved 
erroneous, and gradually resumed his self-possession. 

" You are probably ignorant," said Gordon, 
" that I have at this moment in my possession a 
letter from Miss Stirling, in which I am denied 
all farther communication with her, and even re- 
fuse an explanation ?" 

Merton was surprised. 6C The question,'' said 
he, " has been repeatedly put to her ; and she has 
as often answered on her oath, that she never ex- 
pressed, either by word or letter, any decrease of 
her affection for you." 

Gordon in his turn was astonished. 

" Ah V- said Merton, musing, " I now recollect, 
though indistinctly, some circumstances connected 
with a letter which she had intended should be 
privately conveyed to a young man who had long 
been her unsuccessful suitor, but which never came 
to his hands." 

w Why," said Gordon, u it was even reported 
that she was about to unite herself in marriage with 
the individual of whom you speak." 

" Aye, Sir — it was reported, and very generally 
believed. It was her father's determined intention 
that she should marry him ; and he died without 
retracting the command." 



288 GORDON. 

" He is dead, then P exclaimed Gordon ; " God 
forgive him ! I see the entire state of the case !" 

Nor was he wrong in divining the mystery. It 
may be remembered that the letter he received was 
directed, not by his mistress, but in the hand-writ- 
ing of her father. Here, then, at one view, he saw 
the whole range of heedless misconceptions which 
had nearly broken the heart-strings of Caroline and 
himself. He questioned Merton with impatient 
rapidity, and invariably received answers confirm- 
ing the truth of his suppositions. Merton also could 
now r look upon matters in a different light ; and, 
aware that he had been precipitate, was anxious to 
make amends. Stating his intention of remaining 
at the inn for the night, he retired with Gordon to 
his lodgings, and the following deduction arose from 
their conference : — 

Caroline had never for a moment harboured an 
evil wish against her deeply attached lover ; much 
less had she been the conscious cause of his unhap- 
piness. The letter he had received was intended for 
his unsuccessful rival ; and it was evident that the 
father, in a moment of wrath at his daughter's in- 
flexibility of purpose, had directed it to Cunning- 
ham. Hence, it was clear that George had been 
labouring under a false conviction of his mis- 



GORDON. 289 

tress' infidelity, while her happiness had been 
blighted by his supposed neglect. 

The effect of this discovery upon my hero was 
overwhelming. Hope, fear, and self-reproach, com- 
batted for precedency in his bosom ; while Merton, 
hitherto among the ranks of his enemies, was now 
looked up to as his most available friend. The latter 
offered again and again every assistance in his 
power, revisited Gordon on the following morning, 
and promised immediately to interest himself in a 
negociation between the parties. " I doubt not," 
said he, " that all will yet be well. At any rate, 
you shall receive a letter from me in a day or two ; 
and, in the mean time, I pray you keep up your 
spirits." Gordon grasped him warmly by the 
hand, while tears of joy suffused his eyes. " You 
have indeed mistaken me," said he. " Aid me then, 
I beseech you, with your best exertions. If they 
succeed, my heartfelt gratitude will be yours, dur- 
ing the remainder of a life, which I feel would be 
prolonged under such felicitous circumstances. If 
they fail, I shall not long remain to bear the disap- 
pointment, and will thank you for your charitable 
intentions, with my dying breath." 

Dreadful was the interval betwixt the time of 
Merton's departure and the arrival of his promised 



§90 GORDON. 

communication. Immeasurable bliss or insupport- 
able misery awaited the bewildered Gordon. Now, 
fancy would picture all the joys of a restoration; 
and now all the more probable miseries of disap- 
pointment. Perhaps he might see her on her 
death-bed ! It would be some consolation to hear 
her parting breath dwell upon his name. " Then," 
said he, " I shall soon follow her, and we may find 
a recompense for our earthly woes by a union in 
heaven !■' 

Two miserable days, and sleepless nights, passed 
on, and the state of Gordon's mind was such as to 
alarm all around him. On the morning of the 
third day a letter arrived. The superscription was 
Merton's. With a tremulous hand he broke the 
seal, and found two letters within the enclosure. 
Merton's, which alone was directed, ran thus : — 

" Injured Sir, 
" I hope I have in some measure redeemed my- 
self in your opinion* Be as collected as possible, I 
conjure you. Open the accompanying letter, and 
believe it genuine. I shall be with you in the 
course of the day. 

" Yours, &c. 
" Wm. Merton." 



GORDON. 291 

He opened the precious communication, and the 
following presented itself to his ravished sight : — 

" O, my dearest George, how much have we been 
deceived ! Be assured your poor Caroline is per- 
fectly innocent, where you have had too much rea- 
son to suppose her guilty. I have loved — lamented 
— any thing but wronged you ; and I trust you will 
now give that full credit to my fidelity, which I do 
to yours. I was dying, but now look forward to 
life — to the joy of being once more lodged in the 
arms of him, under whose supposed defection, I 
have been gradually sinking to the grave. 

H I can write no more at present, being exces- 
sively weak and agitated. I am innocent, my 
dear George — indeed I am. God bless you ! 

w Your Cakoline." 

I need not say how often he perused this letter — 
nor that he kissed it again and again, " as if it had 
been the hand which penned it." 

Merton arrived according to his promise, and 
poured the balm of comfort into Gordon's ear by 
every word he uttered. Every precaution had 
been taken to prevent the too violent effect of 
extreme joy upon a frame which excessive grief 

u 2 



292 GORDON. 

had almost ruined. The medical men had recom- 
mended change of air as a last resource; and 
Merton found but little persuasion necessary to 
make Caroline's mother fix upon South Wales as 
the point of destination, the union of the lovers 
being no longer a matter of prudence, but of posi- 
tive urgency. 

" They will be here, therefore," said Merton, 
11 in a few days ; and all you have to do is to pre- 
serve your mental composure till the end of the 
week, when you may expect to see them.'" 

The evening previous to the day appointed for 
the meeting had arrived, and Gordon was revelling 
in joyful anticipation of the morrow, when Merton 
unexpectedly broke in upon his meditations : — 

" They are come," said he, " somewhat sooner 
than I expected." 

" Good God !" exclaimed Gordon, u is she 
here?" 

K< Gently, young man," added the cautious 
Merton : 4C prepare to accompany me, and promise 
to be calm. She does not expect you till to- 
morrow." 

On arriving at the house which Merton had 
provided for the accommodation of Mrs. Sterling 
and her daughter, they were met in the hall by a 



GOllDOX. 293 

young woman, who requested them to ascend the 
staircase as quietly as possible, for that Miss Ster- 
ling had, for the first time during the last two 
days, fallen asleep. Fatigue from travelling had 
at length promoted repose, and she was now on 
the sofa in the drawing-room above. 

The trembling lover was introduced to her as 
she slept ! He advanced with breathless emotion 
towards the sofa, but paused ere he reached it, as 
if hesitating to break too abruptly through " the 
divinity which hedg'd her in." Heaving a long- 
drawn sigh, he stood for a few seconds regarding 
the wasted form of his beloved girl, and was cut to 
the heart to think that he should have been even 
the unintentional cause of her suffering. 

He approached still nearer — she moved ! His 
breath was suspended — but she became again com- 
posed, and he seemed relieved. 

Sitting down at the head of the sofa, he gently 
took her hand within his own, and refraining to 
indulge in any closer endearment, 

" With looks of cordial love 
Hung over her enamour' d." 

Suddenly she became restless, and muttered some- 



294 GORDON. 

thing indistinctly. He fancied she had pro- 
nounced his name. 

" I shall now be unhappy no longer — I am 
the wife of Gordon ;" said the affectionate girl, 
as she lay unconsciously beneath the fond gaze of 
her lover. 

Unable to restrain his feelings any longer, he 
entwined her in his embrace, and she awoke with 
the pressure. His altered appearance evidently 
shocked her. Incapable of utterance, she fainted 
on first seeing him, but soon recovered ; and, laying 
her head upon his bosom, relieved the agony of her 
joy by a flood of tears. 



The rector had arrived at this point of his story 
when the moving bolts of the Abbey door an- 
nounced the approach of some visitors. I had be- 
come too much interested in the narrative not to 
feel the annoyance of any interruption, and was so 
far unmindful of being in the presence of a clergy, 
manias to vent my anger in an oath. 

" Nay," said he, " you may consider the nar- 
rative as finished.'" 

"JBut, were they married?" I anxiously in- 
quired. 



I 



GORDON. 295 

He had barely time to reply in the affirmative, 
when a lady and gentleman of youthful and pre- 
possessing appearance entered the Abbey, and ad- 
vanced toward us. Health and happiness were 
depicted in their countenances : — 

" Allow me," said the rector, " to introduce 
you to 

" Me. and Mils. Gordon." 



THE PAINTER'S ACCOUNT 

OF 

HIMSELF. 



"—And one man in his time plays many parts." 

Shakspeare. 



THE 

PAINTER'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 



It was with unfeigned regret that I, at length, 
bade adieu to the hospitable squire and his family; 
intending, without further delay, to proceed on 
my journey to London. Instead of taking coach 
at the neighbouring town, it was thought more 
advisable for me to proceed by the cross road to 
the inn, where, as the reader may recollect, I was 
on a former occasion so sorely beset with phantoms 
grim and horrible in the painter's apartment. 
Never, surely, had a two months' trip been more 
pregnant with incident and matter for narrative : 
neither were my adventures yet at an end, for, on 
reaching the inn, where I had to await the arrival 
of the mail, I was immediately introduced by the 
landlord to the author of the picture, which had con- 
tributed so materially to the disturbance of my rest* 



300 the painter's 

The painter saluted me with much courtesy, 
apologising for the terrific influence which he had 
imparted to his canvass, and assuring me, that, 
" however his works might be formidable to those 
whose digestive organs were impaired, the work- 
man himself was by no means to be dreaded/' 

This it was easy to believe. Candour and good- 
humour were depicted in his countenance ; and I 
no sooner beheld him than I wished for his ac- 
quaintance. " Notwithstanding the nocturnal 
troubles," said I, " which your picture occasioned, 
it pleased me exceedingly ; and I have since often 
coveted an opportunity *of becoming more familiar 
with the produce of your talents." 

" Sir," said he, " I am proud of your appro- 
bation, and only regret that you should now have 
paid us so flying a visit ; since I have several pic- 
tures on hand, and a tolerably rich portfolio ; and, 
had your leisure permitted, I should have been 
most happy in submitting them to your inspec- 
tion."" 

Regretting in turn my " positive inability" 
to stop, the coach drove up ; and, shaking hands 
with the painter, I was about to enter the vehicle, 
when " mine host of the garter" very politely inti- 
mated, that I had better make up my mind to try 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 301 

another encounter with the ghosts, for that the 
coach was full. 

It is surprising how peremptory obligations are 
frequently annulled, only by the removal of some 
ordinary opportunity. There being no room in 
the coach, I felt no longer any reluctance to put 
up with a room in the inn ; and, returning to the 
painter, I could scarcely do less than observe, that, 
although the obligation to go immediately to Lon- 
don had been the more urgent, the obligation to 
stay in his company was by far the more agreeable. 
The coach went off* without me, and I ordered a 
bed for the night. 

I soon discovered that my companion was an en- 
thusiast : fanciful, thoughtless, and benevolent. 
He had at one time been affected by a theatrical 
mania ; at another by the madness of poetry ; but, 
unlike men of feeling in general, had never been 
prone to despondency. He was now earnestly de- 
voted to the pictorial art : it had been always a 
favourite pursuit ; and during the latter part of 
his life he had studied it exclusively. Fuseli had 
been his chief model ; but, while he admired the 
poetical vigour and anatomical knowledge of his 
favourite, he considered him as occasionally extra- 
vagant, and always too angular. 



302 THE PAINTER'S 

As we sate at our wine after dinner, he gave me 
a sketch of his life. 

My father (said he) was a Liverpool merchant, 
who, partly to gratify his passion, and partly to 
increase his capital, had married the well endowed 
sister of a wealthy tea merchant in London. Being 
a younger son, I was not brought up in my father's 
business, but placed in the counting-house of my 
uncle, where, during a stay of two years, I ren- 
dered myself deeply conversant with Shakspeare 
and the novelists, and, as you may readily sup- 
pose, learnt nothing of my business. My fellow 
labourers in the Bohea mart, on the contrary, 
studied little else than the substantial philosophy 
of day-book and ledger. They looked upon me 
with contempt, and I regarded them as beneath it. 
Occasionally, indeed, I condescended to argue with 
them upon the subject, but found them all as incor- 
rigible as cannisters. In vain I represented to 
them that tea, no less than poetry, was among the 
useless or at least unnecessary commodities of life ; 
and that if the latter effeminized the mind, the 
other only tended to enervate the body. The 
blockheads, Sir, could not understand me : they 
still maintained the worth of the plant, as they 
would have done the importance of poetry — 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 803 

if it could have been sold at eight shillings a 
pound. 

I was about to commence the third year of my 
apprenticeship, when my grandfather, from whom 
I appeared to have inherited my poetical propen- 
sities, bequeathed me on his death-bed an annuity 
of sixty pounds a-year. This, perhaps, was one 
of the most unfortunate circumstances that ever 
happened to me. But for this legacy, it is possible 
I might have been eventually weaned from those 
follies which engrossed my youth, and by this 
time established as a partner in the firm ; for my 
uncle's liberality was greater than is usual with 
men of business; and he forbore to check with 
violence what he conceived might gradually decline. 
All hopes of my amendment, however^ were now 
resigned. No sooner was I sensible of my inde- 
pendence than I laughed at my uncle, and lam- 
pooned his clerks. The latter bore my insults with 
politic forbearance, but the former very justly 
turned me out of his house — " Go," said he, " for 
a good for nothing vagabond as thou art l" 

For about two months I enjoyed the otium cum 
dtgnitate of a retired gentleman, in the vicinity of 
Pentonville; but I very shortly discovered that 
the dignitas was incompatible with sixty pounds 



304 the painter's 

a-year, and resolved on such an application of my 
talents, as might not only enrich but also signalize 
me. I had frequently attended the theatre as a 
spectator, and now entertained notions of figuring 
upon the stage myself: nor must you suppose that 
my object was simply to please the publie, but to 
shew them that they had been hitherto gratified 
by performances of the most faulty description. 
Cooke I acknowledged had some good points; 
Kemble shone occasionally in a few characters; 
but the audiences of Drury Lane and Covent 
Garden were yet to witness the full development 
of Shakspeare's glory. 

I conceived it politic, however, to make a first 
essay on some minor stage ; and waited upon the 
manager of the West London Theatre with an 
offer to play Macbeth for him. 

6C To play Macbeth for me!" exclaimed the 
Thespian ruler, " for me ! I thank ye heartily : 
but beg ye to understand that I can play the cha- 
racter myself; and even were I disinclined to 
assume the cap and tartan plaid, there be several 
who would be prompt to fill the vacancy: we are 
in no want of Macbeths here, I assure ye !" 

Now, Sir, this was quite new to me. My fancy 
had never even suggested the probability of such 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 305 

a reply ; nor can I say whether surprise or morti- 
fication was the feeling predominating within me. 

u Pray, Sir," said the manager, " may I ask 
whether you be professional, or an amateur ?" 

" Can that," said I, " affect my ability to per- 
form the part ?" 

" Why, no, Sir," he replied ; " but it mate- 
rially affects the terms on which you play." 

" How so?" 

" Simply thus," said the manager, with a smile : 
" if you be professional, I may probably have to 
pay you five pounds a week : if you be an amateur, 
you will have to pay me ten pounds a night." 

To be brief — I paid the money; played the 
character after my own fashion ; and the audience 
treated me after theirs, which was none of the 
gentlest. Unquestionably they were agreed as to 
the originality of the performance, and, as I opine, 
equally unanimous on the subject of its merits. 
On rushing from the murder of Duncan I nearly 
overthrew Lady Macbeth, and created much mirth 
in the banquet scene by letting the golden chalice 
fall upon the toes of Banquo's ghost. Forgetting 
my part on one occasion, the prompter remained 
unable to assist me from laughter, and a wag in the 
gallery was induced to comment on the rt beauty 



306 the painter's 

of my pauses." Ere I fell by the sword of Macduff 
my fate was proclaimed : — c Lay on ,' said I, ' and 
damrHd be he who first cries hold, enough! — " You're 
damn'd already," exclaimed the wag aforesaid : and 
thus ended my theatrical career. 

I need scarcely inform you that my dramatic 
attempt was kept a profound secret at the time ; 
for the few remaining claims which I held upon 
my fati^rs indulgence would have been instantly 
annulled had it come to his knowledge. In the 
course of a few months after my separation from 
the tea company, I ventured to pay him a visit, 
and though he received me at first rather coolly, 
he subsequently acknowledged the warmth of pa- 
rental affection, and condescended to ask me " what 
were my future plans?" 

" Father," said I, with a decision that seemed 
to please him, " I wish to be a painter." 

" A house-painter ?" said he, " or a landscape 
painter ?" 

u An historical painter," said I, with emphasis. 

" Then, Sir," he remarked, " you would not, 
I presume, condescend to be a Sir Thomas Law- 
rence ?" 

" His paintings," I replied, " are more than 
mere portraits — they are pictures." 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 601 

" Then, Sir," concluded he, " I wish you would 
become a picture painter !" 

In short, my father added forty pounds annually 
to my income, and I entered the Royal Academy 
as a student. My progress was rapid; my per- 
formances received with favour by the critics ; and, 
in the end, I obtained the medal, with the necessary 
allowance for a three years sojourn in Italy. Taking 
an affectionate leave of my parents, I waited upon 
my uncle with an humble apology for my late un- 
dutiful conduct, snapped my fingers at his clerks, 
and embarked for the continent. 

After a reasonable stay at Paris, Genoa, and 
Florence, I proceeded on my way to the " eternal 
city," where painting and sculpture still hold their 
principal courts. Sated with the riches of the 
several galleries, public and private, where martyr- 
doms and holy families prevail even to nausea, I 
sought for subjects of novelty among the moun- 
tains which border the Campagnia, and became 
enamoured of rocks, cascades, and banditti. Such 
were the themes which now engrossed my pencil, 
and I was shortly fired with an emulative spirit 
which threatened subversion to the fame of Salvator 
Rosa. 

In the course of time, however, circumstances 
x 2 



308 THE painter's 

tended to give my mind a new turn. One of my 
brother artists introduced me into an Italian family, 
among whom was a pretty brunette, with a fine full 
figure and large black eyes. I could never fancy, 
Sir, your little English delicacies — but your looks 
inform me that I shall offend you by dilation on 
that point — therefore, without any odious com- 
parisons, I shall merely state, that the lady in 
question at once captivated my heart, and in 
every picture that I painted was to be found some 
intimation of the ruling passion. 

Prompted by my feelings to make an instant 
proposal of marriage, I could not but hesitate when 
I considered my circumstances, the certainty of 
incurring the ridicule of my fellow-students, and 
the displeasure of my father. As to any thing 
but an honourable alliance, it had never entered my 
mind. The lady was of good family, and no less 
reputed for respectability than for loveliness. Had 
she received my addresses with indifference, I could 
then have done as prudence directed ; but she had 
evinced her affection, as I conceived, beyond all 
doubt, and I had no alternative but to love. 

As I was wandering one evening in musing 
melancholy mood towards the abode of my fair one, 
I heard a noise as of two men violently quarrelling ; 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 309 

and, on approaching nearer to the scene of disturb- 
ance, I could perceive them indistinctly through 
the shrubs struggling for the possession of a knife. 
It was immediately evident that the one had at- 
tempted the life of the other : I rushed instantly 
through the plantation, and, after some difficulty, 
succeeded in separating the combatants and secur- 
ing the weapon. 

No sooner had they recovered from the increased 
agitation which my unexpected interference had 
occasioned, than they appeared to lose all sense of 
animosity, and to be influenced alone by feelings 
of astonishment. They first regarded me, then 
looked at each other; and afterwards wondered, 
" by the body of Bacchus," how I should have 
become acquainted with the circumstances. 

" With what circumstances ?" I asked. " Chance 
brought me here just at the moment of your mur- 
derous encounter ; but I know of nothing beyond 
that, and have only to request, v said I, throwing 
the knife into the Tiber, " that you will both go 
peaceably home, and for the future, adopt a more 
honourable method of settling your quarrels." 

Although they were strangers to my recollection, 
it appeared I was thoroughly known to them. 
Finding, however, that I was unacquainted with 



310 THE PAINTER^ 

the cause of their enmity, they seemed inclined to 
favour my ignorance ; and, with thanks for my 
interposition, they wished me a very good evening, 
and severally departed. 

On reaching the mansion of my fair one, I found 
her suffering from an unusual depression of spirits; 
and, being urged to explain the cause of her melan- 
choly, she delicately hinted to me, after much hesi- 
tation, that our intimacy were better discontinued, 
for that it had already given rise to a very general 
belief of our speedily approaching union. My 
feelings were always quick ; and, being now 
actuated by the sole desire of establishing her 
comfort and my own honour, I unhesitatingly 
solicited her hand, and left her to appoint the 
nuptial day. — It was finally settled that we should 
be united at the end of a fortnight. 

Well, Sir, the time was fast approaching, and I 
awaited it with a mixed feeling of desire and dread. 
As I paced thoughtfully along the corso y two or 
three evenings before the day of the intended cere- 
mony, a man briefly accosted me, and, without 
staying for a reply, bade me, as I valued my 
honour, to leap the wall of the Signorina's garden, 
and see what was going on in the little rotunda at 
the bottom of the shrubbery. I had just time 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 311 

enough to discover that my informant was one of 
the two whom I had interrupted in deadly conflict 
about ten days before ; and you may be probably 
less surprised than I was, on becoming acquainted 
with the facts which transpired on my reaching the 
little rotunda as directed. — By Jupiter, (said the 
painter, striking the table forcibly with his 
knuckles,) whom should I discover in close con- 
ference with my mistress, but the other party — the 
rival (as it appeared) of the individual who had 
accosted me in the street. 

My first impression was to rush upon the 
usurper of my rights, and give him a sound 
English drubbing ; but it suddenly struck me, that 
with a little management, I might render my 
revenge more perfect, and I resolved on being made 
thoroughly acquainted with the real truth of the 
matter, ere I proceeded to extremities. I there- 
fore advanced within hearing, and, secreting my- 
self behind the rotunda, learnt a few facts relating 
to the intentions of my mistress, which tended very 
materially to alter my own. 

It appeared then that the gentleman was by no 
means anxious of supplanting me in the honours of 
matrimony, and merely aspired to the pleasures 
which might arise from co-partnership. In short, 



312 THE PAINTER'S 

Sir, I was to be the husband, and he the lover, — 
two very different characters in Italy, I assure you. 
The lady had long listened to his suit, and had 
also for a considerable period been subject to the 
importunities of his less fortunate rival, who, 
having failed in his attempt to despatch the 
favoured lover, had kindly afforded me an oppor- 
tunity of doing it for him. Perhaps he conceived 
that as my interference had been the probable 
cause of his rival's safety, my exasperation would 
only be the more violent ; and, perceiving me to 
be a tolerably sturdy fellow, he doubtless reckoned 
on my thoroughly avenging both his wrongs and 
my own. 

No sooner was the state of the case fully appa- 
rent, than my anger gave way to feelings of a 
much more harmless nature; and love, extin- 
guished on the instant, only left me to exult on 
my very fortunate escape from misery and dis- 
honour. So far from being mortified, I was, in 
truth, much entertained at hearing their stealthy 
conference; nor could I sufficiently admire the 
delicacy and pathos with which the intended 
Cicisbeo perused a sonnet of Petrarch's from an 
elegantly bound volume which I had presented to 
the lady, with a copy of verses, some days before. 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 313 

After conversing awhile, the gentleman proposed 
that they should take a turn round the shrubbery. 
They did so— leaving the volume of Petrarch upon 
the seat of the rotunda. 

Now, Sir, conceiving that as I had uselessly ex- 
pended such a sum of affection, there could be no 
harm in redeeming so paltry a present, I put the 
little book into my pocket, and leaving the happy 
pair to anticipate the joys which, as they had every 
reason to expect, so shortly awaited them, I quietly 
retreated from the garden as if nothing had tran- 
spired. 

Assuming both my best habit and most cheerful 
looks, I visited my fair one that very evening at the 
usual hour, nor evinced any alteration in my man- 
ner or sentiments. She played her part with as 
much warmth as ever, and I answered her endear- 
ments with corresponding fervour. One thing alone 
contributed to damp her joy. She had lost her 
invaluable little volume of Petrarch. Still, how- 
ever, she hoped to recover it ; for, she had some 
idea " that a friend of her mother's had put it into 
his pocket.'' Doubtless she conceived it was in the 
possession of her inamorato. 

On the morning of the following day, I procured 
my passport ; and, having packed up my moveables 



314 THE PAINTER'S 

before nightfall, again visited the charming Signo- 
rina. — " In forty hours more," said she, " I shall 
be a wife !" — " In forty hours more," thought I, 
" I shall be in Tuscany ." 

I started by the mail the following morning ; and 
while the lady expected my presence at the hymen- 
eal altar, I was criticising the mutilated Graces in 
the cathedral at Sienna.* 

I proceeded from Sienna through Florence to 
Bologna, where I remained for some time, and 
thence continued my professional course to Venice. 
Freed from the shackles of Cupid, I followed up 
my favourite art with great application and some 
success ; and I had nearly forgotten my Roman ad- 
venture, when I accidentally heard of what had 
befallen my mistress after my departure from the 
Italian capital. 

In the first instance, the loss of her Petrarch had 
given her much pain. In the second, the flight of 
her intended husband had nearly overwhelmed her 
senses. " Poor girl !" said the narrator (of course 
ignorant that he was addressing a party so deeply 
interested) — " Poor girl ! — she was long ere she 
recovered the shock." 

* This celebrated group is in the robing room of the cathedral. 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 815 

" But," said I, affecting to have heard some slight 
report of the affair, " had not the Englishman 
reason to doubt the truth of her affection for 
him r 

" Affection ! Bah P exclaimed the Italian, " she 
esteemed him for his talents and virtue, and would 
have made him a good wife. You Englishmen 
are so unreasonable. You cannot separate love and 
admiration. In Italy a woman can give her duty 
to her husband, while her beauty is rather directed 
to her husb and? s friend. — The Italian gallant was a 
handsome youth. It was impossible to love so ugly 
a fellow as the Englishman." 

" Pray, Sir," said I, " what eventually became 
of her r 

" Why, Sir, he replied, " her lover, being un- 
able to obtain her on the terms he more particularly 
desired, was at length content to receive her with 
the encumbrances of matrimony : they have been 
married some months.^ 

Wishing the happy couple all those joys which 
I at one time fancied were likely to be mine, I sus- 
pended all further thoughts upon the subject, and 
invoked the aid of my muse, while I studied the 
composition of a picture from the interesting ro- 
mance of Romeo and Juliet — that charming history 



316 the painter's 

(be it false or genuine) in which we are presented 
with so forcible a portraiture of maiden love and 
connubial fidelity. 

The picture was scarcely finished, ere it attracted 
the notice of a young English nobleman, who gazed 
upon the face of Juliet in particular, as though it 
bore a chance resemblance to some idol of his own. 
In supposing such to be the case, I cannot imagine 
that I was far from the truth ; else why should he 
offer to purchase it on the proviso, that the nose of 
the heroine, which was after the true Grecian mo- 
del, should be altered in some measure to the simi- 
litude of a snub ! I hesitated, but he was inflexible, 
leaving me to choose between a straight line with 
the chance of a more classical customer, and a 
curved one with the immediate receipt of fifty 
pounds. I took the latter. 

Good fortune had not yet forsaken me. My 
patron's recommendation brought me several pur- 
chasers, and I meditated sending my uncle an offer 
to paint his portrait gratis, when some temporary 
relaxation of patronage might allow me sufficient 
leisure. 

But I had soon a real motive for self-congratu- 
lation in this particular. My father, after a long 
continuance of prosperity, was doomed to encounter 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 317 

a very serious reverse^ and he wrote me a touching 
letter, which urged the necessity of my abstaining 
from all extravagance, as he feared he should be 
unable any longer to allow me the extra provision 
which he had hitherto afforded. I returned him 
a cheering epistle, intimating that I stood no longer 
in need of it ; and that I hoped, very shortly, to 
have the means of repaying his paternal goodness 
with more than expressions of filial gratitude — and 
in truth (said the painter, warming as he spoke), he 
stood in real need of my assistance ; for, (would 
you believe it, Sir ?) that right liberal uncle of mine, 
on being solicited for the aid of a trifling loan, 
basely excused himself, and qualified his refusal by 
compassionately remarking, that had I stuck to my 
business as became a good apprentice^ I should 
have been by this time a blessing instead of an in- 
cumbrance to my parents. 

My father, however, was in no want of friends, 
and, though he never regained his former state of 
affluence, he ultimately succeeded in acquiring a 
moderate competency. I pursued my professional 
studies with fair but varying success ; and having 
sojourned a reasonable time at Venice, and the se- 
veral towns in the north of Italy, I once more pro- 



318 THE painter's 

ceeded to my favourite Florence, to pay my devo- 
tions to the Venus de Medici, and luxuriate in the 
riches of the Pitti Palace. 

During my stay in the Tuscan capital, the Carni- 
val took place ; and I was too much aware of my 
capacity for playing the fool in truth, to be above 
assuming the cap and bells on an occasion like the 
present. Most earnestly did I join in the revelry 
of the masque, where fools without wit, harlequins 
without grace, bandits without courage, and nuns 
without chastity, contributed to the extravaganza. 
Encountering an unmasked acquaintance, who had 
merely mixed as a spectator in the throng, and to 
whom I was much indebted for certain mischievous 
inflictions at Venice, I so peppered his well-formed 
physiognomy with sugar plums, that he was fain to 
escape from the scene of action. My grudge, how- 
ever, being satisfied, I civilly accosted him with a 
" very good morrow," and earnest hopes " that 
he had thoroughly enjoyed himself." 

" I thank you," said he, " my pleasure has been 
great ; but not without alloy. In the first place, 
I have reason to congratulate myself on the invit- 
ing courtesy with which a very lovely woman has 
been indulging me from yonder window; and if 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 319 

some mischievous fellow had not — but, look !" said 
he, pointing again towards the window, " there is 
the very woman !" 

On looking up, whom think you that I beheld ? 

The faithless one of Rome ? 

Even so, Sir ! There she was, throwing her spi- 
rit-stirring glances upon my companion, who, to 
say truth, was in every respect a highly favoured 
man, — " fram'd to make women false." 

In a few minutes, however, she suddenly disap- 
peared, as if called away by some one within the 
house ; and my companion, after waiting a consider- 
able time, retired homewards sorely disappointed at 
not having been enabled to complete an assignation. 

Without letting him into my secret, I immedi- 
ately retired to my lodgings, and in my best Italian 
penned a note to the following effect : — 

" Adorable, 
" With all the force of a coup de soleil thy beauty 
bewildered my senses the moment I beheld thee. 
Should it be thy intention to grace the masquerade 
in the theatre this night, assume, I pr'ythee, the 
habit of a nun, nor reject with scorn the proffered 
benediction of a holy pilgrim. 

" Ever thy devoted slave." 



320 THE PAINTER^ 

Of course, she conceived this to be nothing less 
than an invitation from the gallant whom she 
had seen from the window ; and it was, doubtless, 
under this supposition that she appeared at the 
theatre disguised accordingly, remaining an inactive 
member of the revel, till I approached her in my 
cockled cap and sandal shoon. Having assumed 
the visor of age, I also adapted my voice to the 
character, and, after accompanying her two or 
three times round the area of the theatre, I led her 
into a private recess, at the back of the stage, and 
requested her to seat herself beside me. 

" What a poet is Petrarch," said I ; " how rich 
in simile ! how delicate in sentiment ! how deep in 
feeling P 

" Delicious !" exclaimed the lady. 

" Vouchsafe, then/' I continued, taking from my 
pocket the little volume which she had so much 
reason to remember — " vouchsafe, then," said I, 
" to receive from your devoted slave this trifling 
testimony of his admiration. " 

" Pazienza !" exclaimed the lady, " how came 
you to the possession of this ? 

" Pattern of virtue/' said I, unmasking, and re- 
suming my natural voice, " I took it from the 
rotunda in your garden at Rome, while you were 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 321 

rambling with your lover in the shrubbery ad- 
joining." 

Her surprise was great ; but her indignation 
greater. "Hence," she exclaimed, "perfidious 
traitor ! Hence ! or I will find those who shall 
make you repent the fraud you have imposed upon 
me !" 

Of course, I was no more anxious to conciliate 
her good opinion than to encounter her revenge. 
Resuming my disguise, I solemnly bestowed upon 
her my benediction, and left her to suffer under 
the double weight of disappointment and mortifica- 
tion. About three weeks after the conclusion of 
the carnival, I bade adieu to Italy, and have never 
been anxious to inquire further concerning my 
first and only love. 

Paris was my last continental resting place ; and 
I found sufficient matter in the galleries of the 
Louvre and Luxembourg, to induce a long stay in 
the French capital. The Parisians, notwithstand- 
ing their peculiarities, have a fine taste for the 
arts; and if, in the execution of historical and 
classical subjects, they evince not the vigour of the 
old masters, they are scarcely inferior in apprecia- 
tion and arrangement. 

Y 



322 the painter's 

I happened to be fortunate in a small copy from 
" The Judgment of Brutus," a celebrated picture 
by Thiers ; and was still more lucky in the chance 
which brought it before the notice of Talma. He 
sent me a polite note, requesting to know the price 
I had set upon it ; and, on calling upon him with 
my answer, the purchase was unhesitatingly com- 
pleted. Eulogizing my professional talents, he 
only regretted I did not more generally exert them 
in the production of original works, and suggested 
the illustration of a scene in some popular French 
tragedy. 

After several consultations with him upon the 
subject, I finally determined on attempting a picture 
from the play of Sylla. The celebrated tragedian 
readily agreed to sit for the principal character, 
and deeming it necessary for me to see him several 
times upon the stage, he made me free of the 
theatre for a season. 

I was one evening present during the represen- 
tation of Hamlet ; and, at the conclusion of the 
first act, my right-hand neighbour (whom I had 
not till now observed) asked me in pure English 
how I liked the performance. 

I admired it in general ; but hinted at a few 
opportunities for giving more effect. 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 323 

" Ah I Sir,'' said my companion, " the finest 
performance I had ever the good fortune to wit- 
ness, took place in one of the minor theatres of 
London. Your patent play-house frequenters 
little think of the quackery they endure, and the 
real pleasure they forfeit, in being dissuaded from 
paying an occasional visit to the Cobourg or the 
Surrey, the East or the West London theatres. It 
was at the latter, Sir (a deserted establishment in 
Tottenham-street), that I once saw Macbeth en- 
acted in such a manner, as to make me anticipate 
that the ghost of the flattered Shakspeare might 
usurp the ' stool' of the murdered Banquo." 

" I pr'ythee do not mock me, fellow student," 
said I, gradually recognizing the person of the 
Tottenham manager. " Remember, that if I did 
play the fool, I paid dearly for the privilege." 

Agreeably to an invitation which I had given 
him, the manager called upon me the following 
morning, to see the sketch of my picture from the 
tragedy of Sylla. 

" I observe," said he, " that you intend to intro- 
duce a number of figures in the back-ground of 
your painting : now, Sir, if you are in want of a 
subject for a head, I shall be happy to sit for you." 



324 the painter's 

" In want of a subject !" I exclaimed : " Sir, 
the corps dramatique of Paris, is by no means few 
in numbers, and certainly there is not one among 
them who will fancy himself dishonoured by ap- 
pearing on the same canvass with Talma. Happy 
are they whose countenances are suitable to the 
dignity of my subject, and whose figures," said I, 
regarding the diminutive person of the manager, 
" are adapted to the majesty of tragedy. Such as 
are fortunate in these essential particulars, I have 
not overlooked : others, less favoured (but not less 
ambitious), have been ready to purchase the 
honour : and when you shall be content to refund 
the ten pounds which you received from me four 
years back in the green room of the Tottenham 
theatre, I will then listen to your proposals. I am 
in no want of models, I assure you !" 

Sweet was this opportunity of revenge. I re- 
collected well the managerial pomposity with which 
he had treated me when I proposed myself as the 
representative of Macbeth, and was resolved to 
assume in turn a corresponding magnificence. All 
was done, however, in perfect good humour ; and 
the manager, though refused a place in my picture, 
condescended to accept one at my dinner-table. His 



ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 325 

conversation proved, at least, highly entertaining, 
and that was fortunate, for he talked incessantly. 
Supporting his colloquial volubility by plentiful 
potations of claret, he gave me a history of his life 
and adventures, which might serve as the ground- 
work of a fair novel, did they not bear too strong 
a resemblance to several tales already published 
upon the same subject. 

Having made free with the bottle, he ultimately 
afforded additional evidence to the truth of that 
maxim, which forbids much familiarity even with 
our best friend ; and, after threading with con- 
siderable difficulty the intricacies of a cork-screw- 
staircase, he rolled along the Boulevardes in search 
of his lodging. 

And now, Sir, I have little more to say upon 
the subject of self. My picture, on being com- 
pleted, was bought by an ardent admirer of Talma; 
and I returned to my native country with a con- 
siderable augmentation of fortune and of fame. 
That rambling disposition with which I was born, 
is not yet extinct ; and it will, perhaps, be long ere 
I establish myself in what may be termed a home. 
Wherever I go, I generally obtain some patronage ; 
and being (although a painter) of provident habits, 



326 THE PAINTER'S account of himself. 

I doubt not but that I shall have acquired a tolera- 
ble competency by the time when it may suit my 
inclination to settle in peace. — Now, Sir, if you 
please, I will introduce you to my picture gallery. 



THE END. 



LONDON : 

SHACKELL AND BAYLIS, JOHNSONS-COURT, FLEET-STREET. 



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